Thompson Park is one of the three parks designed into the original Chicago-Colorado Colony town plat. The park is named after Elizabeth Rowell Thompson (1820-1899), a renowned philanthropist, temperance reformer and abolitionist who lived on the East Coast. A Boston reporter in 1899, called her the "founder of Longmont, Colorado." Among her many contributions are: 20 memberships in the Chicago-Colorado Colony which she purchased and gave to people who needed a new start in life; 300 books and 3,000 prints and engravings and a Library Hall built in 1871 to house them, and the first party for the residents of the Colony in June, 1871. It had entertainment, speeches and a "magnificent banquet." The tradition of an annual banquet was revived in 1970, with the first "Strawberry Festival."
In 1890, Judge F. P. Secor rented Thompson Park for $14 per month to graze his and a neighbor's milk cows. The ladies of the town planted trees in the park and helped keep them alive with buckets of water from the St. Vrain -- trees that still stand today and are identified in a brochure available from the Parks and Forestry Services called, "The Trees of Thompson Park." (access it here https://www.longmontcolorado.gov/home/showdocument?id=13575)
They are also memorialized in an Art in Public Places gazebo with ceramic panels designed by Mario Echevarria and dedicated in 2007. Early in the1900s a bandstand was erected where the play structure now stands. Longmont's Coronet Band and a Boy Scout Band gave regular concerts every summer. The bandstand, in poor condition, was torn down in 1969. In addition, the park hosted Chautauqua programs under a big tent as well as many community festivities like the Pumpkin Pie Day celebration - with home-baked pies, coffee, cider and sandwiches served free to all. Central Elementary School, which was designed in the original Chicago Colony plan as a university campus, is located west of Thompson Park.
Covering an area of 4.2 Acres, the park has two picnic shelters equipped with picnic tables and grills. The southwestern shelter is nearest to playground and restrooms. The park has two shelters which may be reserved for a fee. An open turf area and mature trees and plantings provide cool sanctuary on hot summer days. To view a complete list of park amenities and associated trail distances, visit our Plans, Maps & Reports webpage and view the Park Amenities Chart.