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“These Men Were Prophets!” » Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid

Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid

Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid (1823-1909)
The first Bishop of Rochester (1868-1909) and, earlier, first president of Seton Hall University. He is remembered for his dedication to Catholic education In addition Bishop McQuaid was also a strong advocate for “public facilities for the enjoyment of baseball and other sports” and as a charter member of the Park’s Commission made sure the the new parks were also designed to act as recreation centers.

Quoted from “An Historical View of Rochester’s Parks and Playgrounds” By Blake McKelvey in Rochester History Volume XI No.1 January 1949

Speaking at the first event in Highland Park, the dedication of the the Children’s Pavilion, the Bishop focused on Children’s Recreational Needs and Forecast a Park System very much like today’s :”Other large hearted and public spirited citizens will in time imitate and rival this first gift to the parks of Rochester. A spirit of laudable pride will arise among them here, as it has risen elsewhere, to spend for the people’s instruction and improvement a portion of one’s accumulated wealth. It strikes a sympathetic cord in the poor man’s heart when his richer neighbor helps him in a manly way. When capital and labor come pleasantly together it is better for both. This pavilion will, when the summer heats are beating down on the city and the smoky clouds from the chimneys are stifling the tired and weak, invite to its shade and rest and invigorating atmosphere many a heartbroken and wearied mother whose baby’s wasting form warns her that its life will soon pass away unless quickly recalled. The young in full health will gambol on these hills, as only they can ; the feeble and the old will revel here in the quietness of the place disturbed, if disturbed at all, by the bubbling fun and romping frolicksomeness of the former. Who will follow the example of civic generosity set by Messrs. Ellwanger & Barry, and make additional provision for our boys and girls ? They are worth talking about. Many of them will yet be men and women of mark. It is not wisdom to reply that already their opportunities are greater than ours ever were. Let them have the base-ball and the tennis ground, the outdoor gymnasium, skating in winter and bathing in summer. They will be better for all that is done for them, and the citizen who links his name with such popular amusements will be the better in the memory of his good work.”

From Presentation – Ellwanger & Barry Memorial Pavilion Highland Park, Rochester, N. Y. Dedicated By Them To The Children Of Rochester” Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County · Historic Monographs Collection

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