General Plan of Waddell Park,
Aerial View of Waddell Park, 1930
Two slightly different views of Waddell Park before the pool was
built. Note the ice skating rink on what is now 5 ballfields.
RMI is the industrial complex in the foreground and the Girl Scout
office is in the lower right. PO1.1545
Central Park deeded to the city
after the old Central School building
was razed, was dedicated. This park, with band pavilion, fountain
and wading pool, and beautiful landscaping, has greatly improved
the appearance of the downtown district.
Niles Acquired Beautiful Parks, Swimming Pool, Stadium,
Fine Recreation Program in 6 Years.
Park System Late Getting Started But Developed
An adequate park system was late in developing
in Niles, but great progress has been made since the appointment
of the Park Commission in 1927.
Circleville Park, at the intersection of Robbins
and Vienna Avenues, was speedily beautified with shrubbery and
Waddell Park Land Donated to Niles.
Niles Daily Times, September 4, 1930
Waddell Park was donated to the City of Niles
by J.D. Waddell August 7, 1928, their first gift included a 72-acre
tract. Two months later, Mr. Waddell supplemented his first land
gift with an additional 23 acres to the west of the original acreage
extending the park from the city limits to the Erie railroad tracks
on the west and including all of the land between Warren and Park
This land, owned by the Niles Chamber of Commerce,
is ideal for park purposes, being heavily wooded and located within
walking distance from the center of town.
This land was accepted by the city council and
turned over to the park commission for improvement. Work on clearing
away the underbrush started immediately and the section facing
Warren Avenue was scraped and leveled in preliminary work for
a ball diamond.
Extensive work on the park started April 1 of
this year (1930) when a topological survey was made and from the
plan of landscaping the park developed. The baseball diamond was
completed and the first game played there June 1. Mrs. Waddell
threw the first ball on the new diamond and appropriate ceremonies
preceded the game.
The cleaning work at the park was practically
completed this summer and sewer and water connections are now
under construction. This work has held up further improvements
in the park but will be completed within 10 days after which rapid
progress is expected.
A complete landscape map of the park was prepared
showing the park as it will look when the entire program of improvements
The main entrance to the park will be on West
Park Avenue just east of the railroad bridge. The main picnic
grounds will be between Warren and Park Avenues east of the railroad
tracks and Lover’s Lane. The baseball
diamond and athletic field entrance is near Warren Avenue and
the entrance is from that street.
A smaller picnic ground west of Lover’s
Lane near Warren Avenue has been in use several times this summer.
The triangular section of the park on West Park Avenue west of
Lover’s Lane and bounded by the railroad tracks has been
reserved for a swimming pool which will be built in the future.
The land west of Lover’s Lane will
be used for tennis courts, shuffle board field and a general playground.
Swimming Pool, Waddell Park, 1934
Waddell Donates Park.
In the same year the city came into possession of a most desirable
site for a recreation park through the generosity of Mr.
J.D. Waddell who donated for park purposes a plot of seventy-five
acres in the west part of the city. Since its dedication in 1930,
the park has provided the city with picnic grounds, shelter houses,
baseball fields, and tennis courts.
At the present time a municipal swimming pool and bath house,
finished in part by the federal government and local American
Legion, has just been completed.
Waddell Park - one of the picnic
shelters. Donated in 1931 by Jacob and Mary Waddell,
today it hosts the Niles Little League teams. PO1.1073
The 'Bowl' with Wilder Field in the background
at Waddell Park.
Named in honor of John
Wilder, a Niles citizen who guidded the development
of Niles parks as a member and chairman of the Parks and Recreation
Department for 30 years. It was the first baseball field to
have lights. PO1.1076
2023 aerial view of Wilder Field
and the 'Bowl' which is now a soccer field.
Photo: Keith Callahan
Mrs. J.D. Waddell tosses
out the first pitch at the opening of Waddell Park baseball
Ernie Ziegler and a host of dignitaries
at Waddell Park on the baseball diamond.
Some of the men signed their names, and includes
such people as Bert Holloway,
Ed Lenney, and Charles Holeton. PO1.1999
Ernie Ziegler, the mayor and an
unidentified catcher at Waddell Park, the night the lights were
installed at the baseball fields. Ziegler was the recreation
director at that time. PO1.1998
W.G. Llewellyn, Niles Recreation
In this connection, one of the most important added services of
the local city government has been the Recreation Service, under
the direction of W.G. Llewellyn. A summer and winter recreation
program has been organized to make the most efficient use of playground,
gymnasia, and parks with a large proportion of both sexes and all
The Niles Recreation
Service under Llewellyn’s direction has been frequently
designated by visiting recreation authorities as the best program
of any city the size of Niles, and providing more recreation for
the money spent than any other city in the country.