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Morgan’s Grove has served campers, horsemen, soccer and picnic lunches

June 30, 2017
Bob Madison - For the Chronicle , Shepherdstown Chronicle

If there were a face of Morgan's Grove Park, it would be the sturdy spring house that stands alone on a sloping grade near the middle of the acreage. The spring house and its long-gone predecessors have been on the grounds since the day in July, 1775, when volunteers summoned by George Washington left on the so-called "Beeline March" to join the general in Cambridge, Massachusetts for doing damage to the British in the Revolutionary War. The volunteers took only 24 days to march 600 miles to meet Washington.

Over the centuries, Morgan's Grove Park has evolved, but has always been a space for outdoor activities, sports and now picnicking and children using playground equipment.

Before there was the covered pavilion, parking area and swing sets, Morgan's Grove bustled with late-summer activity in the 1930's. The Labor Day holiday was taken seriously by farm families, orchardists and Shepherdstown residents alike.

Families would pack up their children (of all ages) and bring them to Morgan's Grove. Large tents would be erected and those families would stay on the grounds for a week or longer to enjoy the close of summer with activities.

Contests and games were held.

Prizes and ribbons would be awarded for the best and largest fruits, vegetables and grains.

Impromptu baseball or softball games would take place. Competition was rampant among the rural citizens of the county.

Who baked the best-tasting pies and cakes? Who had the top steer or dairy cow?

Water could be obtained from the spring house and it could keep foodstuffs cold so they could be eaten.

When the practice of Labor Day gatherings was ended, Morgan's Grove would eventually host an annual horse show beginning in 1966. The horse show was the catalyst for getting people together until the mid 1980's.

The ground wasn't level for many acres, yet the local Little League held games on a makeshift field near the middle of the space. The Bakerton adult baseball team even held its Tri-County League home games at Morgan's Grove in 1971. A tiny baseball backstop has never been removed from the grounds and stands sentry at one end of the long, soccer fields that are now used in the fall of the year.

Now maintained by the Shepherdstown Community Club, which supplanted the Shepherdstown Men's Club, the acreage has a sand volleyball court near the railroad tracks that border the park.

To this day, the spring house still has its trusted supply of cold running water coming from its protected springs.

A circular walking path of finely crushed rock gets regular use by those intending to maintain their weight, stamina and energy.

Where once proud horses and prouder owners came to be seen and show off their summer's work, now can be seen soccer players, walkers and picnickers.

Morgan's Grove Park no longer hears the crack of a baseball bat meeting a fastball or focuses its attention on a Tennessee Walking Horse. Soccer goals and homemade blackberry pies up in the pavilion have replaced those sports and activities of long ago.

But more people now use the park than were ever there in the past.

And a cold drink of water from the spring house is still available to those in need of respite from a hot July day.

 
 
 

 

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