Fireman’s Park was a gift to the city of Brenham in 1917, an act of generosity and civic gentility courtesy of the firemen of the local fire department. Firefighters created the park in 1884, purchasing the land and outfitting the grounds to accommodate their annual Maifest Celebration, begun in 1881 to honor Brenham’s German heritage and benefit local youth. Today, Fireman’s Park continues to serve as site for Maifest and features a number of improvements for the enjoyment of Brenham citizens. Baseballs fields, a skate park, volleyball courts, playground areas, and the Finke Pavilion enhance the 30-acre park.
Perhaps its most celebrated feature is the restored antique carousel. Discovered abandoned in a field north of town by local citizens, the carousel was purchased, restored, and relocated to Fireman’s Park in the early 1930’s. A 16-sided pavilion, constructed courtesy of the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935, houses the carousel. Carousel horses were carved and constructed sometime between 1867 and 1901 by Charles W. Dare Company, a hobbyhorse manufacturer who expanded into carousel construction. The horse design is considered to be “country fair”, a simple style favored by Charles Dare which he enhanced with his signature running martingale detail. (The martingale is a decorative leather thong linking the bridle to the saddle’s chest strap that is designed to prevent a horse from rearing its head.) The carousel structure, including the turning mechanism, was manufactured by C. W. Parker Company, a Kansas-based carousel manufacturer at the turn of the 19th century. The Fireman’s Park facilities have undergone considerable renovation over the years. The antique carousel also received a thorough restoration in 2005, reopening in 2008.
Fireman's Park is also home to the Buddy Wright Post of the American Legion. Named for Private Buddy Wright, the first casualty of World War I from Washington County, the Brenham post was established in 1919, just one year after the war. In a true community effort, the Legion members personally raised funds for this building, which was constructed in 1937. The Legion members asked the city of Brenham permission to build on City property in Fireman’s Park. The Legion built the building, then “gave” it to the city. The city then gave to the Legion a 99-year lease to use the building.
Antique Carousel at Fireman's Park