Gallatin’s city park bears the name of Governor Dockery who donated 14 acres of land for public use (1906). The park was located on the bluff of the Grand River in northeast Gallatin, along the main way into Gallatin from train depots nearer the river known as Lamma Hill Road. Later, 6 acres was added to the park.
As late as 1909 the Lamma Hill Road was still a main artery of travel and commerce linking railroad depots in the Grand River bottom east of town to Gallatin, MO. Dockery Park, donated to the city by former Missouri governor A.M. Dockery, was located along the Lamma Hill Road.
Governor Dockery served as president of the park board for many years. The asset was maintained by a 2 mill tax.
In his retirement, A.M. Dockery took great pleasure in directing improvements on the 14 acres he donated to the City of Gallatin for its municipal park. Among many interests and duties, Dockery worked as ex-officio road overseer throughout Daviess County. (1908 photo)
Much of the cultural life of Gallatin centered around the annual Chautauqua held every August in the park. This 9-day event attracted traveling groups of entertainers, and harkened to the type of entertainment used at Chautauqua, New York.
Attractions remembered at the annual event in Gallatin included an eminent wizard of the world’s master magicians, Robert Wassman; a noted author, lecturer and educator, Dr. Burris Jenkins; and popular films featuring Fatty Arbuckle. There were acrobatic acts and musical presentations, animal acts, and gifted soloists. Many of the people who appeared in Dockery Park became celebrities of national and international acclaim.
The Hockensmiths were among the many families that attended Chautauqua held in Dockery Park, Gallatin, MO, each summer for a number of years. This photo taken in 1918 shows William Hockensmith, Olive Myrtle, Mary Margaret, and Grace holding Charlotte.
Dockery Park entrance
Residents purchased season tickets and brought tents to the park along with furniture for light housekeeping. Lumber for tent flooring could be rented from the local lumber yard. A stock tank provided drinking water, with tin cups wired to the tank rim. Soft drinks could be purchased, along with peanuts and other snacks and foods.
Stone offices were built to provide shelter for the ticket sellers at both entrances to the park.
— taken from “A Historical Inventory of Daviess County, pp. 103-105
This 1908 postcard scene shows the band stand erected at Dockery Park in Gallatin, MO. The handsome wooden structure was a centerpiece for activities held locally for many years.
Tents were erected during Chautauqua festivities of yesteryear held at Dockery Park in Gallatin, MO (date unknown)
Baseball ruled as the national pasttime for decades in America, largely due to local teams playing the game for hometown pride and fun. Baseball games were moved from the west side of Gallatin to Dockery Park upon completion of a 80×100 yard diamond in 1934. The playing field was completed with the aid of CWA and ERA funds, local relief workers, and the boys of the CCC camp. Ground rules applied during early games played here due to the sloping terrace at the edge of the outfield. At that time, Gallatin had two teams: “…the white boys and the colored nine.” This Gallatin team photo taken at Dockery Park is shared by Kenneth Tomlinson (date unknown).
This baseball game unfolded at Dockery Park in Gallatin, MO, with the grandstand behind home plate and a storage building along the third base line. (date unknown)
Playground equipment was once sparse at Dockery Park. This scene looks to the northwest toward the baseball field before a shelter house was erected on the vacant concrete foundation and the installation of playground features. (date unknown)
A concrete wash rack was constructed in the livestock barn at Dockery Park in 1993. This is primarily used by Daviess County 4H and FFA Junior Livestock Show participants. The improvment was paid using Park Board tax revenue. It enlarged grooming space and provided better water drainage. Labor was provided by John and Barry Wood of Wood Bros. Concrete Construction, working with volunteers Doug Alden, Steve Rains, Brad Tummons and David Rains.
Dockery Park is located in the northeast portion of Gallatin, MO, with MO-6-13 its north border (left) and Park Street for its main entrance (at right). Main features within the park when this photo was taken in 2013, from left to right, are the horse show arena, little league baseball field (top) beside the livestock show barn, the baseball field with grand stand, then the park pond and tennis courts (top right), and concrete walking sidewalk encircling shelter house, playground equipment, and a community building.