Melgaard Park

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.

A college student enjoys a sunny day at the park (7/20/2012).

(Click to view larger.)

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2 thoughts on “Melgaard Park

  1. Very fine articel about Melgaard Park.
    Just a little story about our last vacation in the US, which involved Melgaard park.
    Our little family (2 adults and 3 boys) comes from Denmark and some years ago we spent 9 weeks ind the US visiting friends and relatives. First time in your country, but certainly not the last.
    We used 4 of the 9 weeks travelling from Las vegas to Fargo(ND) in a RV. On the 3rd of july we were travlling from Pierre SD to Fargo ND to visit some friends. Since our youngest son is born the 4th of july we wanted to by a present for him in one of the cities we would be passing through on our way. On our way we passed Aberdeen, but driving without GPS and no knowledge of the city we took a road in the south part of the city, thinking it migth take us to some shopping facilities. After some driving we could see it was a wrong road when looking for shopping and we wanted to turn the RV. On the left there was and OK place to turn. A kind of park. Suddenly we realised the park was called Melgaard park and the road was called Melgaard road. That was a surprice. Our family name is MELGAARD, but we do not have Melgaard relative outside Denmark and we are not relatives to Andrew Melgaard. Melgaard is not a common name in Denmark, and we guess it´s not a common name i SD either. So what is the chance that a Melgaard family whitout knowledge of SD choose the rigtht city and the right road and the right place to turn their RV ? Life is somtimes strange. The Melgaard family. Thisted – Denmark.

  2. Hi,

    I am so glad you were going through Aberdeen SD, and happened upon Melgaard Park. I grew up in Aberdeen, and with friends and cousins, many memories come from the park. Maybe someday you will be fortunate to enjoy a trip through Aberdeen, and Melgaard Park, again. Have a great day.

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