In the neighborhood currently across from Clark Elementary School (roughly bounded by Buckner Lane, Lone Oak Road, Maple Avenue, and Forest Circle), there once stood a park, a quite large park called Wallace Park. In the early decades of the 20th century, Wallace Park marked the outskirts of the Paducah city limits; it was quite literally the end of the line. For a nickel, you could ride the rail car from the foot of Broadway to its culmination at the park and then turn around and come back again.
Wallace Park served as a respite for Paducah folks, a bucolic escape from the hustle and bustle of big city life. Among its many features, the park boasted a lake for fishing, rental cabins, a zoo, an eagle cage, a 3000 seat baseball stadium (which served the Kitty League), tennis courts, an “opera house” called the Casino, and pavilions where big bands and vaudeville acts would perform.
The park was used year round, but interest always heightened as the weather warmed and the spring and summer holidays arrived. Easter was no exception, and one of Wallace Park’s grand annual traditions was a massive Easter Egg Hunt. How massive? Some reports from the Paducah Evening Sun claim approximately 4000 eggs. Keep in mind these weren’t store bought plastic eggs, but actual eggs, all dyed for the city’s children to find. Each year, three special eggs were hidden among the thousands which would garner the finder a prize: a bronze egg worth $1, a silver worth $2, and a gold worth $3.
The Paducah Evening Sun from March 28, 1910, reported that between 1500 and 2000 citizens showed up at Wallace Park for the egg hunt, among them 700 children who were of eligible age to participate. That year, little Lena Utterback found the bronze egg and Master Harry Smith uncovered the silver. The big prize, the $3 gold egg reward, went to Master Max Brown.
Though naturally, a couple weeks prior The Sun also published an article about an impending rise in egg prices. Because the hunt was so popular and because the dyes of the time made the eggs unsafe for consumption, they estimated that egg prices would rise from 15 cents a dozen to 18 or 19 cents.
To learn more about egg scrambles or Wallace Park, visit us at the Local and Family History Department at the McCracken County Public Library.