The ABCs of Lowell History: P is for Parks

The Lowell Area Historical Museum is offering a weekly feature to explore local history. The ABCs of Lowell History continues with a look at one of the city’s little known parks, McMahon Park. To learn more about Lowell history, visit the museum website to explore its collection of local artifacts and records.

The Lowell area has an abundance of parks. We have county, township and city parks. One park many may not know about is the Frank J. McMahon park. This park is located at 830 Shepard Drive SE, and is up on the hill overlooking at the city next to the water reservoir. The park was formerly known as “Reservoir Hill” park.

In 1933 this area was created to be a park space. Frank J. McMahon was the Superintendent of Lowell Light and Power at the time and thought it would be a great place for people to enjoy the scenery overlooking the city of Lowell. The city planned to provide picnic tables so people could come out to eat supper and enjoy the summer sunsets. When asked what the name should be, McMahon suggested ‘Reservoir Hill’. The Lowell Ledger admiringly quipped, “Caesar wasn’t the only man to give parks to the people.”

Twenty six years later, upon McMahon’s retirement after 50 years as Superintendent of Lowell Light and Power, on February 2, 1959, the Lowell City Council made a resolution stating that:

“WHEREAS, Frank J. McMahon has well served the people of Lowell in the capacity of Superintendent of Lowell Light and Power for a half century, and

WHEREAS, Carl Runciman and Dan Treleven have suggested to the Village Council that Mr. McMahon be honored for his long and honorable service by the naming of a park in his honor,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Village council for the Village of Lowell that that area near the Lowell Water Reservoir now unofficially called “Reservoir Park” be designated hereafter as “Frank J. McMahon Park.”

Today the park simply offers two benches and a grassy area where the peace of nature can be enjoyed. The trees have grown blocking the view of the city, and offering a retreat from the business of life.

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