York Town Square

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York County’s Richard M. Nixon Park wildlife wing came from generous donations

William and Gladys Koller are shown in their home with their trophies. Those same stuffed animals can be seen today at Richard M. Nixon County Park. This photograph comes from Eleanor Boggs Shoemaker’s new book “Parks, People Preservation, Public Policy.” Also of interest: Mile-a-minute weed’s York County origins questioned, Memorial honoring victims of alcohol-related crashes should be visited and Rainmaker’s visit indicates much awry in York.

Those trophy animals at Nixon Park?

How did they get there?

Eleanor Boggs Shoemaker tells the story in her book on the history of York County’s Park System:

In the 1980s, retired contractor William G. Koller offered the parks department 170 wildlife specimens from hunts across the world.

Parks naturalist Francis Velazquez and Superintendent William McCue entered the Koller house to what Velazquez characterizes as an ‘incredible’ sight. Imposing figures of animals occupied nearly every space. Beautifully mounted museum quality specimens returned the stares of the two men. The house was a veritable museum.”

The specimens soon populated a museum.

But to get there took some doing.

The donation was contingent on suitable quarters for the trophies.

After some time and fundraising, the Richard M. Nixon County Park’s Wildlife Wing sprouted up and the specimens moved in.

Also of interest:
To kick off Parks Week, Ellie Shoemaker will discuss county parks and sign her book at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 19, at Martin Library. Details: 846-5300.
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