History of Tawawa Park

Tawawa Park was established in May 24, 1948, under the guidance of the Tawawa Civic Park Trustees. The park was named after Tawawa Creek, which runs through the park. The original members of this group were:

  • J. Oliver Amos
  • Wayne Bertsch
  • Murray A. Ferguson
  • William Milligan
  • Jerome Wagner
  • Cecil Watkins
  • WE. Whipp

These civic-minded citizens wished to establish a park and recreational playground for the use and benefit of the citizens of Sidney, OH.


The park consists of 220 wooded acres which includes two lakes (Tawawa and Amos). Tawawa Park was deeded to the City of Sidney on March 28, 1956. It was dedicated to Sidney area citizens on June 3, 1956. Tawawa Park is located at 12 Tawawa Drive.

Origins of Land

After the "Big Four" Railroad was relocated in the early 1920s the abandoned roadbed became a popular hiking trail, especially to the lake to fish and to Big Rock. Walking along the towpath of the canal was also a favorite in the spring and fall of the year. The Kah family owned the land and there was much speculation that the Kah family had plans to develop the land for housing which caused concern to many who thought the highest and best use for the land would be a park for the community. (Source: Patrick Milligan)

Purchase of Land

Shortly after World War 2 ended the Kah family put the land up for sale for $15,000. In order to secure the land for a park, Bill Milligan made a list of 15 people (all of whom have areas named for them) whom he thought he could get a thousand dollars from each and then purchase the land. It was his thought to get control of the land first, and then put together a plan for its development.

Milligan's first "ask" was to Wendal Whipp, President of Monarch Machine Tool Company. After hearing Milligan's idea Whipp wrote a check for the $15,000 and said, Bill, go buy the land and then go to the others for their money and let's get this project started. And he did. (Source: Patrick Milligan)

Development & Canal Work

In the early development of the Park, the Park Board wanted to open up the canal for canoeing, which meant an outlet for the water was necessary. The original "Sidney Electric Company" building on Brooklyn Avenue was (and still is) standing. It had housed an electric generator which originally had been powered by overflow water from the canal. Work began to open the canal and outlet the water through the "abandoned" electric generating building.

However, in the winter of 1948(-) during a January thaw, there was a heavy rain that saturated the high bank along SR 47 (Riverside Drive) which breached and flooded the Brunner filling station on the north side of the road. A long law suit ensued, during which time all work on the Park was suspended. The jury agreed that the breach was an act of God and not caused by the Park Board, and so work was continued. The original idea was abandoned and the canal was filled in from Tawawa Lake to the highway and an outlet was installed under the roadbed to Tawawa Creek.


Research was completed by Cheryl Michaels and Janet Ross in 2009 with additional contributions from:

  • Patrick Milligan
  • Shelby County Historical Society

Additional History

Browse the areas, park roads, trails, waterways, bridges, and landmarks to discover historical information about individual spots in Tawawa Park.