Mayor Don Wesely today announced the donation of about 14 acres of land for a new City park along Stevens Creek at 98th and Adams streets. The donors are Sandra and Aubrey Becker of Kingsport, Tennessee. Mrs. Becker is the niece of Bob and Thelma Burns, who lived on the property for many years, and the park will be named Burns Park in their memory. The Beckers also plan a donation of an adjoining piece of property to the south, bringing the total donation to about 30 acres.
“The generosity of the Becker family is greatly appreciated, and we look forward to adding the land to the City’s outstanding park system,” said Mayor Wesely. “This is the kind of gift that allows families to benefit many future generations.”
The donated property will add to the publicly owned property within the Salt Valley Heritage Greenway, a loop of parks and open space along Stevens Creek and Salt Creek. The park site will be managed as open space at the present time, and may be incorporated into a larger neighborhood park as urban growth expands into the area.
The site is linked to the history of Lancaster County. A 1930 newspaper article by the Lincoln Sunday State Journal indicates that the property was once part of a 200- acre farm along Stevens Creek settled in 1858. An inn known as “Travelers Rest” provided a resting stop at a crossing of Stevens Creek for travelers and pioneer families. One of the first white children born in Lancaster County was reported to have been born to the Shirley family who operated Traveler’s Rest. A pioneer cemetery “Teachman Graveyard” is located on the southern portion of the property that the Beckers anticipate donating to the City in the future. Reports indicate there may have been as many as 40 graves in the cemetery at one time, including the wife and children of the second owner of the “Traveler’s Rest” property. The site is now marked by an old lilac bush and a number of depressions in the prairie grasses.