Bench honors family’s donation to create Red Run Park

Sisters Barb Smith, left, and Pat Edwards display framed photographs of former family property, at the granite bench the family placed at Red Run Park. NANCY MACE/FOR LOCAL.NEWS

ROUZERVILLE–Waynesboro area sisters Pat Edwards and Barb Smith have preserved a piece of local history with the placement of a granite bench at Red Run Park to honor a family gift. The history of the property is inscribed on the seat of the bench. 

Their grandfather, the late Henry O. Smith, donated 8 acres of a  27-acre tract of land he purchased in 1917 to the Borough of Waynesboro for the creation of the Red Run Park. The park was conveyed to Washington Township in 1969.

“A lot of people have commented that this has brought back so many memories,” Smith said. “It’s a history lesson about what was once there, to help memorialize the beauty of the buildings that once sat across from the park,” added Edwards.

After buying the property, Smith and his children cleared 15 acres of the land and began farming it, raising strawberries and raspberries. In 1938, the state Department of Transportation began building Route 16, the “Sunshine Trail” and split the farm in half. That’s when he opted to donate the land; the Daniel Hess family contributed 11 acres. 

Franklin “Ike” Smith, one of Henry’s sons, had the idea to build Red Run Lodge and cabins on the opposite side of the park across Route 16 facing the lake. The lodge was built in1940 and the 15 cabins were added over the next several years. Men from the Civilian Conservation Corps built the park and created the manmade lake. Ike Smith ran the lodge until the late 1960s when he closed it, but continued to sell fruit at the Chestnut Log stand on the property.

In 1973, he turned the fruit stand over to his brother, Bill Smith Sr., father of Pat and Barb, and he ran the stand for several seasons. Bill Smith Sr. then turned it over to his son, Bill Jr., who is depicted on the back of the bench.

The property was sold in 1994 and in 1996, the Red Run Lodge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania.

Today, the 22-acre park features a picnic area with pavilions, playground equipment, public restrooms, and miniature train, which previously operated at Cold Springs Park from the late 1920s to 1970s. The train and buildings were purchased and constructed by public contributions and are operated free of charge by volunteers.

The lake, which closed for swimming in the 1970s, is used for fishing  and includes a special needs fishing pier and ramp to the pier. There is monthly entertainment at the park’s bandstand on weekends during the summer months.

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