The Park

Portage People
Portage History
Name Board
Crichton McCormick Park
Portage Foundation

Crichton McCormick Park History

1921 The estate of Henry B. McCormick donated 14 acres to the Borough with the deed restriction that it can be used only as a park.
1935 The original swimming pool is completed. It was preceded by an earthen dam that was constructed in the 1920ís by local residents. The pool construction was initiated by the Civil Works Administration and after funding was exhausted, a dedicated corps of volunteers completed the pool with many thousands of hours and borrowed equipment and materials.
1936 The original pool bathhouse was completed.
1937 The Portage Civic Improvement Association was chartered by the Cambria County Court of Common Pleas. 
1939 A Works Project Administration project, funded by the Civic Improvement Association, started construction on a bridge, roadway, athletic field, and landscaping. 
1940ís Many improvements were made to the park by high school students, WPA workers, the Borough, the American Legion, VFW, local businesses and service clubs, and coal companies. A partial listing of the improvements includes road resurfacing, new bathhouse and pool fence, picnic shelters and tables, tennis courts, softball fields, basketball courts, horseshoe pitch, parking spaces, band stand, street lights and water fountains, and pool diving board and flood lights.
1954 Mrs. Rose Crichton donated 32 acres of land with the same stipulation as the original donation; that it must be used exclusivley for a park
1956 The entrance to what was now Crichton-McCormick Park was named Verba Boulevard, in honor of John D. Verba, who guided the growth of the park since its inception 35 years earlier. 
1960 The Sonman Mine Explosion Memorial was relocated from Jamestown to its present site in the park.
1960ís This decade saw the rehabilitation of most park buildings, structures, and landscaping. 
1965  The Senior Class at PAHS dedicated its yearbook to the Park and the Civic Improvement Association, which is indicative of the value the facility has to the residents.
1970ís The Little League field was reconstructed and floodlights were installed for night games. The Pee Wee League field was constructed in 1976. Borough Council, with the aid of federal funding, installed 4 tennis courts and comfort stations and purchased 15 new picnic tables.
1971 The Rose Crichton Estate donates five more acres to the park. 
1973 Another 3 acres were donated by the Rose Crichton estate, bringing the Park to its present size of 62 acres.
1987 With the aid of state funding, a draining system was installed, the playground received a major overhaul, shelters rewired, new restrooms constructed, and more landscaping done.
1990 The PA Department of Environmental Resources closes the pool due to its design and location with the floodplain. 
1991 The Portage Area Joint Recreation Commission is created by the Borough, Township and School District with three, three, and one member appointed respectively. 
1992 Nearly $500,000 in funding for a new swimming pool was secured and an architect is commissioned to design a pool for the upper ballfield area. 
1994 Pool is completed and re-opens.
1998 Project Kids Place raises over $70,000 for construction of a new playground in the Park.  With the help of hundreds of volunteers, construction is completed in May.
2004 Pirate Ship is added to Project Kids Place