NEWS!!! Information about the 2018 Minnesota State Amateur Basement Tournament and field improvements, click here.
Memorial Park is located on the south side of State Highway 19 (Main Street East) at 400 E. Main Street.
East Side - New Prague Lutheran Church Senior High Youth
West Side - St. Wenceslaus School
In the early 1900's, residents of New Prague escaped the “city” for summer recreation and social gatherings and could be found at Novotny's or Maruska's grove, areas aptly named for the farmers who owned the land. Desiring to be like their neighbors to the north in Jordan, Chaska and Shakopee, a movement started to develop a city park.
A 1901 New Prague Times article captured this sentiment:
“There seems to be now a general movement among some of our best citizens that New Prague is large enough to own a park. We would like to see our people select a nice plat of ground where some nice shade trees could be planted and then have a place where people could congregate on hot evenings and Sunday. We could also have a nice bandstand in the center and our band boys could occasionally give us a tune.”
The Veterans of Foreign Wars and the members of the American Legion spearheaded the fundraising and in 1921 15 acres were purchased from Maertz and Nickolay in Sunnyside Addition adjoining Main Street on the south side. (The land was heavily wooded when it was first homesteaded by Frank Bruzek, a Bohemian immigrant, in 1856). The park property consisted of about 10 acres of level land for an athletic field and about 5 acres of natural grove.
A Park Board was formed to manage this new park property and George Nason, a landscape architect from St. Paul , was retained to draft a park plan. The proposed plan included four golf holes amidst tennis courts, a football field, playground, picnic area and a landing strip for aircraft.
The American Legion erected a flag pole as the “starting point for more work in Americanization”. In 1926 the organization donated a captured German 105 Millimeter Howitzer (which is not located in the park today). The current canon in the park is a Japanese model and the City knows little about it's history.
The stones lining the entrance were first painted a "showy white" in 1928.
Memorial Park became the hub of activity for years to come hosting band concerts, July 4th celebrations with annually constructed temporary dance floors, fireworks and athletic events.
50 acres was purchased for $5,000. This property is adjacent to Memorial Park.
Memorial Park was New Prague's only park until 1970.
A new Playground Area with swings was constructed in the summer of 2005. Additional infant swings were added in the spring of 2006 at the reqest of park users.
Memorial Park is open from 6AM to 11 PM daily. No camping is allowed within the park.
The 1956 New Prague “oral” log cabin was located on the Charles Killian farm near Lydia in Scott County and was donated by him to the New Prague Centennial Committee. In turn, the Committee deeded the cabin to the City of New Prague on July 7, 1956 , in ceremonies at which Joseph J. Turek, Committee Vice-Chairman, gave the dedication address in Czech and in English, and Frank Wrabek gave the main address recalling Czech memories of New Prague in olden days.
This cabin was selected by the Committee because Mrs. Joseph Solheid (Barbara Hoofhower) of New Prague was born in the cabin. The cabin was dismantled and rebuilt at its present location by supervisors John Kohout, Frank Unger and Tom Kubes, aided by Dan Tikalsky, Frank Kuzelka, Charles Seda, George Janovsky, John Kotek, Joseph Novotny and John Tuma.
The name “Oral” was placed on the cabin because the first post office in the area located a mile or so east of the settlement of New Prague carried that name. Later, when New Prague became a town, the postal facilities were transferred here. “ Orel ” in Czech means eagle, but there is no word in the Czech language spelled “oral”, so most people believe the word was misspelled when it was initially used on the post office.
In 1937, interested citizens urged the New Prague City Council to purchase land from Ben Novotny where golfers were already practicing their sport. In the post-war era of 1949, the New Prague Improvement Association began talk of improving the Park and Golf Club. The Association's plans called for the construction of a bandstand,a wading pool, additional playground equipment, a lighted baseball park, a public library and a golf clubhouse.
In 1962, the Club purchased 68 acres at the south end of the nine-hole course at approximately $395 per acre. The transaction did not involve the City, but in 1967, when real estate taxes on the back nine holes became an issue, the Club turned over its interest in the back nine to the City. The Club's land and personal property were then sold to the City for $1 each. (The original nine holes had belonged to the City since 1937). The City annexed the land in 1967.
To visit the New Prague Golf Club website, please click here.
Park Pavilion (Park Ballroom)
In 1929 a committee was appointed by the American Legion to solicit donations toward the building fund for the proposed pavilion in Memorial Park. The size proposed was 60X90 feet with a substantial roof and a high-class dancing floor with a band stand extending from the south side.
The general contractor was J.F. O'Keefe from Prior Lake with sublet contracts awarded to John Proshek Lumber Co. for lumber, J.W.Komarek for painting and the New Prague Foundry for iron and steel work. The complex was located in the southeast corner of Memorial Park and cost $10,000.
The new park pavilion had its grand opening on June 30, 1929 advertising the largest area of dancing space at 6,000 feet.
It was financed by local citizens who formed the Legion Pavilion Corporation. The individuals were to be repaid by profits of the pavilion which eventually was to become city park property.
In 1949 the New Prague Improvement Association, a non-profit corporation formed to facilitate community projects, announced plans to build a grandstand and lighted baseball field adjacent to Memorial Park at an estimated cost of $20,000.
The City purchased 14 acres of land and the municipal power plant bought $7,000 worth of electrical equipment for the field. The park was further financed by two former New Prague men and by local residents.
The first game was played in 1950 when the New Prague Robin Hood team hosted LeCenter in a Minnesota River league game.
This field is commonly known today as the D.R.S. Baseball field.
In 1959, book mobile service began in New Prague with weekly two-hour stops. This service was replaced in 1960 when a branch library opened in basement quarters at 101 West Main with 11 hours of service. Books were evacuated to New Prague City Hall by Boy Scouts during May floods. The library eventually moved to 115 West Main.
Gifts from the Charles Borak Post 45 of the American Legion, Gopher Post 5145 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Western Foundation paved the way for a new library building.
The New Prague City Council in 1962 voted to provide a site in Memorial park for a new library. Construction began in July.
The dedication of Memorial Library, New Prague Branch of Dakota-Scott Regional Library System, was held on June 8, 1963 , with the address by Dr. O. Meredith Wilson, president of the University of Minnesota.
The 4,000 sq ft. facility was built at a cost of $123,000 which included building and furnishings and had a book capacity of 12,000 books.
In 2000, a 3,300 sq. ft. addition was designed by Meyer, Rockcastle and Scherer, a Minneapolis architectural firm. The $800,000 enhancement was funded by a voter approved bond, a grant and donations including a substantial one from the New Prague Area Historical Society with the city commitment that the organization could relocate to a designated room within the library. This room was dedicated to Paul Komarek.