Before nineteen-fifty-six, this park was called “The Country Club”. There was a country club building where you are now standing, right on the edge of the water. Across the lake in the vicinity where the pool is now, was an empty grassy area known as “Gucker Field”. Holiday events, school football games, and circuses took place there.
In nineteen-ten, the Santa Fe Railroad constructed a lake located on a 40-acre tract of land. Two years later in nineteen-twelve, the citizens leased this ground for a resort, and the Santa Fe Country Club Association was established. The membership consisted of Santa fe Railroad employees, business professionals, and city residents. To use the words used in a nineteen-thirteen brochure: “The country club’s purpose was to offer a high class harmless amusement to citizens and visitors.” The lake was described as a pure water, spring-fed lake stocked with ten-thousand fishes in nineteen-twelve. The remainder of the country club area was devoted to a tennis, croquet, skeet shooting and a tranquil landscaped garden.
The large 2-storey clubhouse was said to have a sufficient number of bathers lockers, boating dock, a finely-furnished banquet room and dance hall. During the summer months, The Santa Fe Country Club was busy with swimmers and boaters. The caretaker and his family lived on the first floor.
It was at the Country Club House that a reception was held for the Disney’s when they arrived for the Disney Municipal Park dedication in July of nineteen-fifty-six. One-hundred-fifty people were there to greet the Disney’s when they arrived. Walt was able to get re-acquainted with friends he had not seen in fifty years.
In the nineteen-forties, the Santa Fe Railroad ceased to sponsor the Country Club and it passed on to the City of Marceline. It became The Marceline Country Club. The Marceline Country Club was not an elite organization, as any family could join the club for eighteen-dollars-a-year. Swimming in the lake, boating, and water skiing were extremely popular.
In August of nineteen-sixty-eight, the once beautiful Country Club House burned to the ground. No cause of the fire was ever determined. A second loss to the country club area occurred in nineteen-seventy-one when all the trees were mangle, topped, or uprooted by a a destructive tornado.
Since that time, the park has been restored to its original beauty. Restrooms, ramadas, benches, and a walking trail around the lake have been added. The Walt Disney Municipal Park continues to provide enjoyment to the Marceline community.