Located north of the Santa Fe tracks, between Union and Exchange Streets, is Fremont Park. This 2.6-acre site is one of Emporia's original two township parks; therefore enjoying historical and cultural significance in the development of our Park system.
John C. Fremont, explorer, Civil War General, and first Republican presidential nominee from Kansas, is the namesake of Fremont Park. The City's first bandstand was built in this park in 1901 and in 1913, the Women's Relief Corps erected a solder's monument honoring Civil War Veterans. Significantly located near the Santa Fe tracks is another tribute to the past; a Santa Fe locomotive and caboose. All in all, this park seems somewhat "classic", in that it is reminiscent of the earlier age of parks. Other features of the park include a drinking fountain, playground equipment, picnic tables and ornamental lighting from the time period.
The condition of the Pergola had become a matter of concern particularly since a means of funding a replacement had not seemed likely at all. The Pergola itself had little resemblance to its original appearance due to a multitude of repair and patch jobs that occurred over the years, and the integrity of the inner structure was seriously deteriorated. In 1991, thanks to the generosity of the Wayman family and the Emporia State Bank, the hurdle of replacing the pergola was overcome. Specifications and plans for a replacement were developed by studying photographs of the Pergola as it originally appeared and a new structure, true to the original was constructed.
This reproduction helped to preserve the historic flavor of Fremont Park. New playground equipment was installed in 2005. Future plans include replacing some of the chat-covered areas with stamped concrete and additional period lighting.
Fremont Park is attractive and its links with the past add significant value to its status within the park system.