Faribault City Councilors Jonathan Wood and Tom Spooner were guests on today's AM Minnesota program on KDHL.  We covered a variety of topics including development of the city's newest park.

The large tract of land south of Crooked Pint on the east side of Highway 60 next to the viaduct will be the city's next park.  Fleckenstein Bluffs Park is north of this area and is under construction.

Councilman Wood says the park is still in the planning stages.  Councilman Spooner liked my idea of a town square like those you find in Europe.  A large gathering space.

An area that can gradually be added to over time.

I suggested the park be named in honor of Faribault's first (and only to date) female mayor.  Jeanette Hammond.  Both Councilors liked the idea.

The more I think about it the more I like the idea of adding another name to the park.  In honor of the first female member of the city council let's call it Hammond Anderson park.

Kymn Anderson was the first woman on the Faribault City Council so it makes perfect sense to name this park in honor of these two trailblazing women in our community.

The name also has a certain ring to it don't you think?  Hammond Anderson Park.  There could be a plaque placed somewhere noting the park was named after the first mayor and the first female member of the city council.

There was talk Councilors Spooner and Wood said of naming a park after a famous female artist from Faribault who lived at the turn of the 20th century.

Too often in my mind the naming of parks or roads or whatever are done when the person they are named after is gone.

Wouldn't it be nice to name something in honor of people still living?

Someone texted me after the program this morning and said in 50 years nobody will know who Jeanette Hammond was so they do not feel a park should be named after a person.  If we used that logic we would never name anything after a person

Alexander Park is named in honor of the man who first platted the town.  In fact we have North Alexander and South Alexander Park instead of two different names.  Faribault was his last name and the city is named after him.

Liz Wall Strohfus Field, Faribault's airport, is named in honor of the Faribault native who toured the country talking about her Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) days during World War Two.

She was born Elizabeth Bridget ("Betty") Wall November 15, 1919 in Faribault.  Graduated from Faribault High School in 1937.  After graduation she worked in the Rice County Courthouse in the Register of Deeds Office.  But filing and typing were not for Betty (Liz).

She would go to the Faribault airport after school and learn about flying from the members of a local flying club.  She took a loan out to pay the $100 it cost to join.

Not long after Liz (as i used to call her) saw an ad for the WASPs and got her 35 hours of air time in to qualify.  She applied along with 25,000 other women.  1,047 would be chosen.

During one of the many visits I had with Liz (Betty) over the years on AM Minnesota or just out and about in public she reported training how to fly every aircraft and simulate enemy flights in mock air combat with U.S. bombers.

It stuck in my head when Liz (Betty) said, "The planes never asked if you were a man or a woman." After her service she applied to be a pilot for Northwest Airlines and was turned down.

Many years from now people may not know who Liz Wall Strohfus was but because the airport is named after her they might do some research and find this inspirational information about a woman I greatly enjoyed visiting with and am happy to call my friend.

I told her many times I would have loved to have known her in those WASP years because she was fun in her 70's, 80's and 90's when I got to know her.

She invited me to her induction into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000.  I was honored to be asked and remember her candid remarks at the banquet about how the men who served during the war were her "heroes."

The same research into the inspirational stories of the first female member of the Faribault City Council Kymn Anderson and Mayor Jeanette Hammond the first woman to be in that post can ignite future generations if we name the new park Hammond Anderson Park.

Dean Curtis Hall on the Rice County Fairgrounds was in my mind appropriately named in honor of an icon in not only Faribault but the entire region.

Please share your thoughts.

You can listen to the podcast of the entire program below.

Let's see if you get hungry after reading about these.

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