We Transform our Neighborhood
Hanson Park’s land was originally donated by the Hanson Family so the area’s residents could make use of these gardens to grow food for their families. Today’s residents carry on this history by working together in a cooperative environment to produce locally grown food as stewards for their environment and neighborhood.
The History of the Land
Before 1835, the land know as Hanson Park was inhabited by the Native American Blackhawk tribe. The town of Craigin was started by George Merrill sometime after 1835 when the native population moved west at what is now the corner of Grand and Armitage. Grand Avenue was then known as Army Trail Road (and that corner was called Whiskey Point).
One story was that the land was purchased for a whiskey bottle. A hotel was built in1862, but the area remained mostly rural until the Craigin Brothers built a tin plate and iron processing plant to the area in 1882 and the Chicago-Milwaukee RR built a station at LeClaire to accommodate movement of their goods into the city.
By the early 1890’s the farmland found in the area was turned into housing, some of which still remain. Within 2 years of the plant opening in 1887, 200 people lived in the area as other businesses opened. By 1910 3800 residents lived in the area and multiplied by three when the industrial areas thrived in the 1920’s. Many churches were built in the area to accommodate all the religious and ethnic groups moving into the neighborhood.
The Hanson family farm owned by David Hanson, was donated to the city for recreational use and allotment gardens. We honor this history in the present, and work to build an ecologically balanced, vibrant urban agricultural hub that contributes to the healing of our environment in a future rich with urban biodiversity and opportunity for a creative economy.