Irvingdale, Stransky, Rudge Memorial Parks
Irvingdale, Stransky and Rudge Memorial Parks are beautiful, contiguous historic parks located in the heart of Lincoln. The parks stretch from 14th and Lake Streets to 20th and Van Dorn Streets and are surrounded by some of Lincoln’s oldest neighborhoods, providing green space and recreational opportunities to neighborhood residents. Our vision is to implement a comprehensive master plan developed for complimentary and cohesive renovation and improvement efforts for all three parks. Specific projects include renovating existing and age playgrounds, improving under-utilized park areas, constructing stream channel stabilization measures, replacing park infrastructure, building a connecting trail corridor and adding new amenities to increase recreational opportunities in this under-served, dense area in the core of the city.
Critical Park Enhancements
- ADA-accessible playgrounds in Rudge and Irvingdale Parks
- Pool and bathhouse renovations for Irving Pool
- Basketball court in Irvingdale Park
- Day use facilities and picnic shelters in Rudge and Irvingdale Parks
- Channel stabilization along a drainage way running through Irvingdale Park
- Hard-surfaced trail corridor/loop connecting all three parks
- Drinking fountain with pet bowl in Irvingdale Park
- Interpretive/educational exhibits in Irvingdale and Rudge Parks
- Renovated parking facilities near the pool and tennis courts in Irvingdale Park.
For more information or to get involved, contact the Lincoln Parks Foundation, email@example.com or 402-441-8258.
A 15-acre park located at 20th and Van Dorn, named in proximity to Irving Junior High (Irving was named for American author Washington Irving, whose works include "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.")
In November of 1916, Mark and Clarke Woods deeded a portion of their land in the southwest corner of Lincoln to the city. This “strip of ground” as worded in the official deed, eventually would become one of Lincoln’s oldest parks.
From 1916 until 1923, the little neighborhood land was called Van Dorn Park. However, in 1923 the park was closed due to little community interest. Six years later, the park was reopened with a facelift and a new name. Three junior high girls--Edith McMahon, Clarissa Bennett, and Helen Boyd--named the new park Irvingdale. The new park reopened in October of 1929.
The Irvingdale neighborhood enjoyed their community park for many decades. An idea came in 1954 in an effort to improve the park even further: a neighborhood swimming pool. However, this swimming pool was not met with overwhelming support.
A petition was started early on in the swimming pool’s planning. By early 1956, nearly forty signatures were signed on a protest against the location of the new pool. Many homeowners were concerned that the location of the pool and increase of traffic that the pool would cause would mean their properties would be devalued. After several edits of the pool’s location and structure, the plan and budget for the Irvingdale pool was approved by City Council by February of 1956.
Construction moved quickly on the Irvingdale pool, with its completion just in time for summer by late June of 1956.
Throughout the next few decades and continuing into the present, the Irvingdale Neighborhood Association maintained the beauty and recreational qualities of Irvingdale Park. Community members consistently stepped up to maintain beautification of their park, and came forward in 1998 with plans to make it more friendly and accessible. The Irvingdale Neighborhood Association wished to build a playground in their park, with the help and funding from the Parks and Recreation Department. After a year, in 1999 the playground was completed. Irvingdale became a haven for community members and students at nearby Irving Middle School, which it still is to this day.
A 6-acre park located at 14th and Lake, named to honor prominent Lincoln department store (Rudge & Guenzel) owner, Charles H. Rudge, whose 1926 estate gift to the Lincoln Parks Department allowed for the renovation of the park in the late 1940s.
In late 1953, Lincoln City Council voted to replace Harrison Street Lake, a 60-year natural landmark, with an open ditch storm sewer and playground.
In a heated debate with multiple different options introduced, City Council decided to replace a majority of the lake to make room for a park and a storm sewer, but part of the lake not used for these purposes can still be filled and maintained as a small pond for fishing and ice skating.
By February of 1954, City Park Advisory Board decided to use the Charles H. Rudge Memorial Fund to beautify and develop the Harrison Street Lake.
Soon afterward, a portion of Harrison Street Lake was filled, along with the closing of 16th Street in the area. Rudge Park was created, along with a natural ice skating rink in northeast section of the park, formerly the northern section of Harrison Street Lake. This created a vein of parks in the Irvingdale neighborhood that provided a variety of activities for the Lincoln community.
Irvingdale Neighborhood Association worked to make Rudge Park and Irvingdale Park more family and child-friendly, including removing old playground equipment and purchasing new swing sets, slides, and digging devices. After 3 years, the playground equipment at Rudge Park was assembled and opened for all children.
Today, Rudge Park is a part of the vein of parks stretching throughout the Irving neighborhood in soutwestern Lincoln. The Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department intends to connect this park, along with Irvingdale and Stransky Parks, via paved trail to create a recreational pathway for all types of recreation.
Home of the Stransky Park Summer Concert Series, located at 17th and Harrison. This park was named to honor Angeleen and Leonard Stransky, prominent Lincoln grocers who funded the rehabilitation of the park in 2003.
Stransky Park is a fairly new addition to the ever-growing family of Lincoln parks. Boasting iron fencing, beautiful landscaping, and a natural-style waterfall, Stransky is considered a jewel in the Irving neighborhood. It is a point of attraction for visitors, families, and weddings.
Stransky Park started its origins in 1994, when a donation was made from retired grocer Leonard Stransky and his wife, Angeleen. The couple donated more than $1 million to the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department. The intention with this donation was to create a park featuring a waterfall, fountain, playground, gazebo, and picnic area. This big dream was intended for a small space, between 17th Street and Perkins Boulevard.
By 2001, a majority of the park was completed. The park land was separated with iron fencing and landscaping was forming. However, Stransky Park had many projects still in development: the creation of a natural-style stone waterfall, fountain, gazebo, and toddler playground. The waterfall and gazebo were underway early on, with an intended completion date for summer of 2002.
In late 2003, Stransky Park was officially opened and dedicated to the city. A natural waterfall flowed and children played on a new toddler playground. All of this was surrounded by iron and brick-column fencing. Angeleen Stransky was present for the park’s dedication and opening. Leonard Stransky had passed away in March of 1998, and did not get to see his park completed. However, Angeleen mentioned that her husband mentioned that donating the funds to create park land was one of his most important days.
“This is my day,” he said. “I love Lincoln.”
Today, Stransky Park is a hub in southwestern Lincoln. It is a member of the vein of parks stretching throughout the Irving neighborhood. It is a host for a summer concert series hosted by a local radio station and a prime location for weddings.
Funding and Park Updates
Project updates will occur periodically. Please check back in the future!