SHELTER HOUSE TURNS 100 - The city plans a 100th anniversary celebration of the Stich shelter house at Riverside Park Friday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. Steve McBride | Courtesy photo
SHELTER HOUSE TURNS 100 - The city plans a 100th anniversary celebration of the Stich shelter house at Riverside Park Friday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. Steve McBride | Courtesy photo
Friday, Sept.14 at 6 p.m., the city will celebrate a milestone achievement for the AC Stich shelter house in Riverside Park. “Everyone is encouraged to come to the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the shelter house. There will be music by the MidContinent Band, who was also there when the original dedication took place July 4, 1918. We will have a raising of the flag by the Marine Corps League. The GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) and the State guard raised the flag at the original dedication. Mayor Caflisch will speak with a history of the Stich shelter given by Dr. Isaias McCaffery, professor of history at ICC (Independence Community College),” said Barbra Beurskens, Park and Zoo manager. An ice cream social and free train rides are also planned. “We are asking people to bring their lawn chairs and enjoy the music. Also we are celebrating the 65th anniversary of our miniature train birthday with free train rides,” Beurskens added. July 4, 1918, Katherine Stich, the wife of AC Stich, who was a mayor of the city and president of Citizens National Bank as well as the inventor of the paving brick, formally donated the shelter house to the city. More than 5,000 people attended the dedication ceremony which will be commemorated in much the same way in Friday’s ceremony. In the July 5, 1918 article of the Independence Daily Reporter, it stated, “It is a very pretty building. 30 feet wide and 174 feet in length. The main pavilion is 60 feet in length with a large fireplace in the center on the north side on which is the beautiful copper plate bearing the likeness of Mr. Stich with suitable inscription.” The building cost $27,000 in 1918. It was one of the first structures at the new community park and situated to be a center piece of the park facing a planned sunken garden to the south and the children’s playground area to the north of the building. The IDR article concluded with a tribute to AC Stich and his donation of the shelter house to the people of Independence, “It is a most generous gift and fitting memorial to a man so prominently identified with the history of this community and who during his whole life endeavored to help and aid the less fortunate. It was the interest he always felt in humanity that suggested the building of the shelter house as a memorial to him.”