A PLACE IN TIME
side of the river . In 1905 a pavilion was built for dancing at the newly named Eagle Point Park , according to The Clinton Herald . The verandas overlooked the Mississippi River . Hard maple floors were laid and waxed . A 14-foot veranda encircled the structure .
In 1935 , the Civil Works Administration , the precursor to the WPA , moved the old pavilion and remodeled it . “ The original pavilion was all wood and it was at an angle to the river ,” said local historian Mike Kearney . “ What they did in 1933 , they rotated the pavilion so it faced the river . And the exterior was faced in the half log facade ,” Kearney said . The wall was moved out to the roofline , enclosing what was originally a veranda .
“ It will occupy practically the same site that it always has ,” said The Clinton Herald in 1935 , “ but it has been turned so that the long side is toward the Mississippi . When completed , it will offer a dining hall and dance floor 100 by 54 feet in size . At one side will be a series of special rooms extending the full length of the building . They will provide space for the kitchens , two restrooms , toilets for men and for women and a concession stand .”
The building was surrounded by a cement-floored terrace 18 feet wide with a native rock wall meant to blend into the landscape , said The Herald . The knoll in front of the pavilion was graded to improve the view . A fireplace 10 feet wide was built at each end of the hall .
Turnouts were built along the roads through Eagle
Point Park to allow cars to stop for a view over the bluffs . A parking lot was built to accommodate 600 cars , according to The Herald .
The Herald reported that CWA workers would also be used to open a gravel pit near Camanche to provide surfacing material for drives in River Front park north of Fourth Avenue South . And CWA crews were hired to remove trees in poor condition from parks , including dead and fallen timber on the cliffs of Eagle Point Park .
A Gallup poll in 1939 asked Americans what they liked best and worst about FDR ’ s New Deal . The answer to both questions was “ the WPA ,” History . com says . Some politicians criticized the WPA for its inefficiencies . WPA construction projects sometimes ran three to four times the cost of private work . Some of this was intentional . The WPA avoided cost-saving technologies and machinery in order to hire more workers .
Unions protested the WPA for its refusal to pay wages as high as those in the private sector .
Despite these attacks , the WPA is celebrated today for the employment it offered to millions during the darkest days of the Great Depression , and for its lasting legacy of smartly designed , well-built schools , dams , roads , bridges and other buildings and structures , History . com says . Many , like Clintons baseball stadium and Eagle Point Park ’ s lodge , are still in use today . C
Spring 2022 Clinton Magazine 7