Uncovering the Local Past

Thursday, June 13, 2013
This stone, featuring an engraving for "Rose Hill Park," was unearthed from the backyard of John and Mary Taylor. The couple is seeking information surrounding its origins.

A unique discovery was made at the home of John and Mary Taylor during recent work in the Rector couple's backyard. As portions of old stone and concrete were dug up from the ground in order to make room for a new walkway, something carved into one of the large slabs immediately caught their attention. The largest section of uncovered stone, weighing an estimated 800 pounds, toppled while being unearthed and showed an engraving which read "Rose Hill Park" on the underside. The edge of the slab features a date reading "191" with the broken edge leaving the final number in the date lost.

"We know this area used to be called Rose Hill," Mary Taylor said. "There was a Motsinger Park nearby that many people know about, but we don't know anything about a Rose Hill Park."

Motsinger Park was a privately-owned park near the Taylor's neighborhood at the corner of 8th and Park Streets. In its day, Motsinger Park featured many attractions, including a private zoo complete with a collection of moneys. The park also featured a baseball diamond, statuary and picnic areas.

Rose Hill Park, though, remains much of a mystery.

"Everything we've looked at comes back to Motsinger Park," John Taylor said. "I don't know if this was affiliated with it somehow or if it was something entirely different. I'd certainly like to find out, though."

The Rose Hill Park also features a more worn engraving on its opposite side which reads "City of Rector" in a smaller, different style. This engraving furthers the mystery, as it seems unlikely a private park would feature those particular words.

Surprisingly, moving the large stone has been easier than learning its origins. Work has continued at the Taylor's, with the historic slab having been moved through the use of rollers.

"It had been part of a sidewalk for years, but we think it's more important than that now," Mary said. "Hopefully, we can learn more about where it came from."

The Taylors have spent several years working on their lovely brick home, believed to be one of the oldest brick homes in Rector.

"We know it's over 100-years-old," Mary said.

"Some people say it's the oldest brick home in town, but we don't know for sure," John said. "I believe it's one of the three oldest. That much we're fairly sure of."

The Rose Hill Park slab is not the only historic curiosity the Taylors have found. One of the stone slabs which makes up their backyard steps features engravings which read "Jordan's Fountain" and the words, "Let Good Be Your Motto."

"I'm not sure if they go together or not," Mary said of the engraved step and the uncovered slab. "I guess it could be a coincidence, but then you start to think about it and it seems possible they came from the same place."

The Taylors are continuing their search for information. They ask anyone who may have information to help "put the pieces together" to please share their knowledge.

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