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Sutton's Gardens

Submitted by Jari Lynn Oncken - March 20, 2008

How wonderful it is to see Sutton's Park leveled, green and growing, and in
use again.

Many remenber Sutton's Park, named after Mr. W.G. Sutton, when it was a beautiful flower garden. The park is at the north end of Chestnut Street on the land which was just west of the Illinois Central tracks and south of the mine and "Jumbo".

Mr. Sutton became owner and operator of the coal mine in 1904. An interesting article told of a mine inspector's report of 1913 when 58,627 tons of coal had been mined one mile north the previous year by 393 employed miners.

Mr. Sutton owned the mine until closing in February 1951, a few months before his death. Sixty-five men were employed that year. Streator's was the only local area mine to survive Minonk's mine.

In 1934, Mr. Sutton and his daughter Luciille Ann had the idea of a landscaped garden. She became sick and died before seeing the flowers in bloom.The garden then became her memorial.

Mr. Sutton did all the planning of the 600-foot long by 80-foot wide lot.The ground was a railroad right of way grown up with grass and weeds.

All of the flower bulbs planted were started in his private greenhouse across the street. They bloomed from early spring to late fall.

Mr. Sutton's favorite flower, the red canna was planted in beds at each end of the garden. At the back were high shrubs with lilac and rose bushes directly in front. In the front center was a large green glass stone placed in 1935 and weighing 4,200 pounds. Many small pieces were taken as souvenirs. Wind and rain also attributed to its reduced size.

The rest of the garden was made up of well-kept lawns dotted with small beds of ever blooming flowers such as pink verbenas. Flower beds of marigolds, gladiolas,
peonies, petunias,tulips and many other varieties were in bloom at different times of the season. As soon as one flowerbed was through blooming, other plants
in bud were transplanted from the greenhouse to the same spot. Several stone paths, trellises and a birdhouse added to the beauty of the garden.

Sutton's Park is now in use for the second year as the site of Minonk's Fourth of July celebration from July 3-5.

It is a good thing to link old and new memories and traditions as in our reminiscence of Minonk's Sutton's Park.

Sutton's Garden picture
Sutton Garden picture