There was been some concern lately as to the “dry” status of Collingswood- as Devil’s Creek Brewery opened their doors last month. Collingswood’s restaurants and businesses have long been BYOB friendly. What does that have to do with Knight Park? And What has been happening with the park recently?
A Little History:
Knight Park is more than 60 acres of public park given to the Trustees of Knight Park in 1893 by the family of Edward C. Knight after his death in 1892. Mr. Knight set forth plans in 1888 to start the development of the park- grading the land to allow drainage, the construction of a road around the park, and even the creation of the two ponds where a cedar swamp once was.
The property includes the caretaker’s house that is used by the grounds superintendent, originally Richard T. Collings. Knight owned a significant amount of property, including the area that is now Knight Park.
Edward C. Knight was a successful Philadelphia businessman. He was born in Gloucester in 1813. He started as a country store clerk, later becoming a successful grocer in Philadelphia. This allowed him to finding much success an importer, distributor, and refiner of molasses and sugar. He was invested in the development of steamboat and rail distribution, helping his refining business to expand. He was also one of the first to import molasses from Cuba.
His political career also had a couple of highlights including a 1856 nomination for Congress by the American Whig and Reform Parties. He was one of the Directors of the Union league ad was a promoter of the Bicentennial Association. He also served as an Elector on the Republican Presidential Ticket.
Because of his Quaker roots and conservative political associations, Mr. Knight was against the consumption of alcohol. The consensus is that the donation of the property to the town by the estate of Edward C. Knight included a condition that alcohol could not be sold or consumed on the property.
Right Now, Even If You Think That The Town Should Be Dry, Knight Park Is Wet
If you have been to the park recently, you may have noticed how wet the fields are. This has been a well-documented problem for years. As seen in this video from the Courier Post in 2014.
The playground is also in need of more safety substrate so that it is safe for the kids to enjoy again. We have been avoiding Knight Park this season, opting instead for the William G. Rohrer Children’s Playground on N. Park Drive in Pennsauken due to the drainage and safety issues at Knight Park.
The park is owed, governed, and maintained under a private trust. The focus has been on the renovations to the Caretaker’s House, but I think that we need to voice that the park needs to be made usable by our neighbors first.
What do you think? For those who are concerned about the state of Knight Park related to the brewery, where’s the concern for the condition of the fields, road, and playground?