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Dunwiddie, William E. / The parks of Neenah: an historical interpretation
(1993)

S. F. Shattuck--a remarkable builder of parks,   pp. 37-40


Page 37

 
S.F. Shattuck-A Remarkable Builder of Parks 
F      or a period of more than sixty years, 
       S.F. Shattuck had a quiet and influ- 
     ential role in the planned development 
of the parks of Neenah. To him belongs the 
credit for building much of the fine system of 
parks and playgrounds we enjoy in our com- 
munity today. 
   It is difficult to find clear and unmistakable 
evidence of his work, for he was an exceed- 
ingly modest person. His quiet, unassuming 
nature tends to hide the effective leader he 
was. He shunned all publicity for himself, and 
sought no personal credit for the very beauti- 
ful parklands and swimming pool he helped 
create. 
   Shattuck was first appointed to the Neenah 
Park Board in June 1917. For more than 
thirty years, until December 1948, he served 
on the Park Board, most of that time as 
Secretary. One might expect the minutes of 
the Park Board to be a rich source of infor- 
mation about his activities as a member of the 
Park Board, but they are strangely silent on 
his own role in decisions that were made. He 
probably preferred it that way. As Secretary 
S.F. Shattuck 
he could include in the minutes only what he 
felt was necessary and important. He left few 
clues of his own actions to help any future 
historian determine Shattuck's personal role in 
decisions of the Park Board. 
   It is possible Shattuck may have gained an 
interest in parklands from his father, for F.C. 
Shattuck had been a member of the Park 
Board in the 1890s. The first firm evidence of 
the son's role in park development appears in 
1915 on a warranty deed for the property his 
mother, Clara Shattuck, gave to the city as 
Shattuck Park. Shattuck was well aware the 
city would do little to develop the site as a 
park, even if it was given the land as a gift. 
He probably helped to convince his mother 
that if she wanted to make the site a place of 
beauty, she would have to develop the park 
herself to make her dream come true. He was 
always sensitive to the political realities and 
economic limitations of city government. It 
would have been very unlike him to have 
ignored what the city was likely to do if it 
were given a tract of raw land for a park. 
   Shattuck Park is the only one of our eigh- 
teen city parks in Neenah that was accepted 
by city ordinance. (No. 332, Vol. 3) The 
ordinance stipulates in great detail nine condi- 
tions that are to govern the use and manage- 
ment of the park. Perhaps Shattuck did sug- 
gest some of the stipulations for his mother to 
consider. 
   The site that later became Doty Park was 
the second city park to show evidence of 
Shattuck as a park developer. The gift of land 
"for park and playground purposes" was 
mostly wetland and cattail marsh. It was not 
easy for the public to get to it. A single 
sentence in Shattuck's HISTORY OF NEE- 
NAH suggests what he may have done (or 
persuaded others to do). "A group of individ- 
uals added to Mr. Clark's gift by purchase of 
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