One place in Aberdeen that the whole town, including all of the college students, knows is Melgaard Park. Located only a couple blocks from Northern State University at the end of State Street, this beautiful city park got its start in 1909 when Andrew Melgaard, a pioneer of the Aberdeen area, generously donated 11 acres to the city and offered to sell another 14 acres at $250 per acre, which was less than a quarter of the market price at the time.
The donation of the land itself was quite a gift, but what really put the frosting on the cake was a large stand of trees included in the donation that were already fully grown and healthy. As was written on May 5th in the Aberdeen Daily American newspaper:
While we provide for the health and joy of future generations, we are ourselves able also to get equal enjoyment out of such a park, for it comes to the city and the people ready grown with shade trees and ideally situated to become the greatest beauty spot of our entire park system. (May 5th, 1909)
Along with the land that was given and offered for sale, Mr. Melgaard also decided to donate a boulevard that would encircle the entire property. It was to be 66 feet wide and made of gravel, and it intersected with State Street. Furthermore, it gave access to a series of roads running through the park, so it was created to be ideal for both horses and automobiles.
Then, on June 7th, 1931, there was an unveiling ceremony for the Melgaard Park statue. Made by the American Bronze Company out of Chicago, it was 6 ½ feet tall and cost around $3,000. The unveiling was held in conjunction with other activities that concluded Aberdeen’s Golden Jubilee Celebration. Since then, several improvements have been added to the park, including tennis courts, shelters, and a variety of playground equipment that makes the park a great family spot to this day.