DeRivera Park Put-in-Bay – Named After Founder Jose DeRivera
DeRivera Park is a beautiful green lushly landscaped public park in the middle of downtown Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island. This well-manicured gem provides islanders and visitors with a spot to picnic, play, relax, and gather the summer away.
DeRivera Park Particulars
Large, leafy trees over a hundred years old cover the downtown park. The trees offer plenty of shady spots to enjoy a picnic on a blanket or on one of the many tables. Two BBQ pits are free to use and great for an afternoon cookout. Locals and tourists alike love to gather here and grill up burgers and hot dogs from the local grocery store. Bring a football or frisbee along, and enjoy each other’s company. The largest grill is located close to the memorial. Charcoal, lighter fluid, and all you need can be found at the local general store just a block away.
Public restrooms, showers, and lockers are also located in DeRivera Park. The restroom showers operate on quarters, so be sure to bring a few along if you plan on using them. A gazebo is available for public usage by reservation. Rental fees for the 19′ diameter gazebo for parties and weddings are only $50. Be sure to contact the park office to arrange the details.
A hand-built fountain centered in the park and is made from local stone and cement. Originally built by three local businessmen, it lights up at night and, at one time, included little goldfish swimming. Modern-day, coins are thrown into the fountain are donated to the local Emergency Medical Services. Stop by and make a wish to support this important island service.
DeRivera Park playground includes several swing sets, dolphins, and seals figurines for kids to play on as well as the recently constructed Will’s PLayground in Memoriam of a local island child. The swings are ideal for really small children. Older kids enjoy playing on the larger full-size playground with slides, fireman’s pole, and walkways to play around on.
The local park is named after Jose DeRivera. The park is right along the shoreline by the downtown docks. Visitors arriving at the island on the Jet Express Ferry and surrounding marinas will stroll through the park upon arrival. DeRivera Park also operates B Dock, popular with boaters. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial is visable in he distance.
Many of our visitors favorite local businesses are all just a few steps away. Frosty Pizza is right across the street along with the Put-in-Bay Candy Bar. Enjoy a drink and live music at the Blue Marlin Bar & Grill after a day spent in the sun.
DeRivera Park History
Jose DeRivera, a Spanish merchant, bought Sugar, Middle Bass, South Bass, Gibraltar, Starve, and Ballast Islands for a price of $44,000 in 1854. He was instrumental in developing South Bass Island, first by building a sawmill and a stave mill in 1854. He then divided the area into 10-acre parcels with the assistance of an engineer.
DeRivera sold off numerous parcels of South and Middle Bass Island land. Known for his generosity, he sold the South Bass Board of Education a quarter of an acre for Put-In-Bay’s first school for $1. He also sold for just $10 St. Paul’s Church, their land for construction.
When the Battle of Lake Erie ended during the War of 1812, there were three American soldiers and three British soldiers who were buried on the site of the future DeRivera Park by a willow tree. When Perry’s Monument was built in the early twentieth century, the bodies were relocated as a symbolic gesture of lasting international peace. Today, a wooden carving statue stands to commemorate Jose DeRivera.