Eldredge Park Origin
This information was written by Richard Nickerson (of the Nickerson Funeral Home). It was submitted by his widow, Audrey (Holmes) Nickerson. Reference to “Ellis’ Market” refers to the current Friends Market
May 26, 1997
Next to the beaches and Harbors, Our Town’s greatest attraction is probably the Ball Field and surrounding recreational areas. As time passes this facility continuously increases in importance to bring the name of Orleans into prominence.
Before our present Ball Park and Recreational area existed the teams played at a field near the junction of Routes 6A and 28 near the former Starboard’s Cottages where Cooke’s restaurant is now located.
Louis Winslow EIdredge, a baseball enthusiast recognized the need for more adequate facilities and donated the present property to the Town of Orleans in September of 1913. It was given “IN CONSIDERATION FOR MY INTEREST IN THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF ORLEANS AND MY DESIRE TO PROVIDE A PLAYGROUND FOR THEM.”
Some of us will recall that home base was in the South East corner of the field, across the street from the present Police Station. The wooden seats that graduated to a height of fifteen to eighteen feet accommodated a great many enthusiastic fans. Long benches were located along the first base line next to South Orleans Road. At that time there was a large wooden sign that proclaimed the name of the Park.
Louis Winslow Eldredge was always known as “WIN” ELDREDGE. He lived in a home called “EAGLE WING” which was on a hill (now removed) on Main Street across from the present Sandwich Co-Operative Bank. This was later enlarged and was known as Eagle Wing Inn. Even later it became a school for Boys before being made into apartments and most recently moved to Monument Road as a residence.
“WIN” Eldredge acquired a large parcel of land from C.W. Doane in l907. This was used for farming purposes and for the cutting of firewood. The area was known as the General Field. I can recall that celery was grown where Ellis’ market is and that there was a farm house at one time in the watershed land where melons were grown. “WIN” Eldredge had two Sons. Clayton P. Eldredge who married my father’s sister, Caroline B. Nickerson and Lawrence W. Eldredge who married M. Louise Osborne. Neither of the sons had children.
In l938 Louis “WIN” Eldredge deeded to the Town of Orleans the land now occupied by Nauset Middle School (Formerly Orleans High School) and the land where the present Snow Library is located.
In 1944 “WIN” Eldredge died and left the remaining land to his two sons. They deeded the present Town dump to the Town and took, in return, the former dump site which was reached by a dirt road from 6A across from Old Tote Rd. Eldredge Park Way of course did not exist at the time. Later the two brothers deeded extra land for the Athletic field and the Orleans Elementary School.
I recall that when negotiating the amount of land for the school athletic field that they admonished the Town Fathers to take enough for future use which turned out to be good advice. The only stipulation was that the big boulder never be blown up or destroyed.