Heise Park’s namesake detailed with new signage

Galion Historical Society member Rich Henry holds one of the new signs for Heise Park. He stands with Parks and Streets Chair Shirley Clark, members of the Service Department and Safety-Service Director John Swain, far right.

Updated 6/11

Note: After a follow up with several local historians, some of the information in this story needed to be corrected and/or clarified.

Ever wondered how Heise Park got its name?

Three new signs were installed at the park this week to answer that question for visitors.

The signs explain that the land where the park now sits was made possible by German immigrant Frederick Heise — that’s pronounced “hice,” although contemporary vernacular sometimes has it as “hi-zee.”

Heise came to Galion in the 1880s and worked as a patternmaker. In his unsigned will, he left a reported $10,000 to the Galion Public Schools, which used Heise’s gift to purchase land from B. B. Gill.

The deed of transfer was filed in 1913 and the park was named in honor of the German immigrant who had loved this town.

In “The Olentangy Legacy: Book Two” by Dr. Bernard Mansfield, the historian writes: “The park soon became a recreational center. A wooden grandstand was built for fans who attended the baseball games, and wooden bleachers were provided for the football crowds. There were tennis courts, too and swings and slides for the children. In the summer, Heise Park was a favorite spot for picnics.”

Rich Henry, a member of the Galion Historical Society, said he had been wanting to put up the signs for a long time.

“This park has always been a nice place to come. I want younger generations to know why it’s here,” Henry said.

He talked to Safety-Service Director John Swain to see what could be done, and the city agreed to make the new signs.

They are located on Heise Park Lane at both the east and west entrances, as well as the Jefferson Street entrance beside the tennis courts.

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