The following Iles Park history was taken from the Iles Park Master Plan Report, dated 3/1/2009 by Massie and Massie Associates:
Records show Iles Park, named after Elijah Iles one of the first settlers of the community, was one of the first four parks in the city of Springfield. The Springfield Park District was formed in 1900. In 1903 Iles Park was transferred to the district. Around the 1930s the existing stone pavilion was constructed, although later additions altered its appearance. The park is centrally located in the near south side of Springfield at South 6th and Ash streets. Surrounding the park on two sides are residential neighborhoods and on the other two sides are commercial uses.
The historic site of Iles Park is 10.5 acres in area. Land annexed to the park after a 2006 tornado is a sizeable 2.75 acres.
Iles Park information from the Springfield Park District
Iles Park is one of the oldest city parks. Located along South 6th Street between Oak and Ash streets with residences to the north and west and commercial offices and warehousing to the east and south, the 10.5 acre park has a variety of recreational facilities and features including many big, old trees.
The park has a centrally located picturesque stone picnic shelter and two buildings on Oak Street, a small picnic shelter and restrooms. The playground on the southwest is a mix of new and older equipment. A popular lighted ball field is in the northeast corner of the park. Lighted pickleball courts are also very popular, and horseshoe courts also are provided in the park.
On-street parking is provided along Oak Street and along the east side. The park is accessible to pedestrians from the surrounding residential neighborhoods by city sidewalks. Two primary walkways are provided diagonally through the park.
Iles Park was named for Elijah Iles after his heirs donated his land.
Softball at Iles Park one of the biggest attractions in the 1940s
Softball was at least as popular as baseball, Schofield (John Richard “Ducky” Schofield, who was born in the capital city in 1935 and broke into the major leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1953) says, with games at Iles Park drawing as many as 3,000 spectators during the 1940s.
“Softball at Iles Park was probably one of the biggest attractions in Springfield,” Schofield says.