Before 1956 this park was called “The Country Club”. There was a country club building 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 1910, the Santa Fe Railroad constructed a lake located on a 40-acre tract of land. Two years later in 1912 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 from a 1913 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 10,000 fishes in 1912. The remainder of the country club area was devoted to a tennis, croquet, skeet shooting, and a tranquil landscaped garden.
The large 2-story clubhouse was said to have a sufficient number of bathers lockers, a 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 1956. 150 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 50 years.
In the 1940s 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 $18 a year. Swimming in the lake, boating, and water skiing were extremely popular.
In August 1968 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 1971 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.