Living Like the Stocks
F.W. and Wilhelmina (Mina) Stock became very important people in Hillsdale. Besides building a mill that shipped flour of beautiful consistency around the United States, they gave the city of Hillsdale a lovely park that Mrs. Stock created from the swampland behind their house on the corner of Bacon and Broad streets. The park was Mrs. Stock's effort to live with the deaths of three of her children within a year, one from a horrendous accident at the mill and the other two from consumption (tuberculosis). It was called Willow park originally, but the town people, who were welcomed to use it, began calling it "Mrs. Stock's Park."
The Stock family used the park for strolls, picnics and entertaining. Lunches were often served behind the house.
Today we're used to the sturdy arched bridge that leads from the larger park to the island in the middle of the pond. In the late 1800s it wasn't much more than a plank, but still sturdy enough to hold several young lady visitors.
We tend to think of people living in the early 1900s as fuddy-duddies who didn't have fun. Who knows what precipitated this Dutch dress-up, but they certainly aren't fuddy-duddies!
Here's a picture of Maud Bigelow Ruckman, a friend of the Stocks. Could this really be a serious hairdo?!?!?!
It always seemed like it was the kids who suffered the most without jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. Can you imagine trying to play in those outfits?
Carol A. Lackey