From the Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/8/1909, p. 6, c. 6

Voice of the People
Chimborazo and the Weather Bureau.

Editor of The Times-Dispatch:

Sir, - Kindly allow me space in your valuable paper for a few words of protest and warning against the erection of the Weather Bureau in our new beautiful Chimborazo Park.

In the first place what is Chimborazo Park? It is not only the largest, most beautiful and most unadorned park in our fair city, but it is hallowed ground. Here on these broad acres stood the Confederate Hospital, filled with the wounded and dying of the flower of our Southern army. Here were pitched the tents of thousands of soldiers, whose sufferings and hardships should endear ever inch of this sacred soil to the heart of the Southern people. It is now a historic spot and in its silent, untenanted grandeur, broken only by the patter of childish feet and the echo of childish voices, is a fitting memorial to the cause we loved and lost. That a government building and residence should be permitted here on this hallowed ground is an offense to our conception of the eternal fitness of things.

Of what does the beauty of Chimborazo Park consist? Stand with me on Broad Street at any vantage point and feast you eye on the scene of beauty before you – the broad, grass-covered acres, the gentle rolling knolls, the wide curving roads, the sun-kissed slopes and the unsurpassing view! Then you will agree with me that its beauty is its unbroken immensity, its freedom from adornment, save the mantle of green, which kind Nature has so lavishly spread, and the tall trees standing like sentinels against a clear horizon.

And we are forced to believe that heretofore our city fathers have concurred in this opinion – that Chimborazo needed no adornment; then why should they so suddenly be seized with the desire to give us this public residential building, claiming that it will be such an ornament because the immense sum of $18,000 would be spent thereon?

Why was this great project engineered with such haste that before the adjacent property owners, who have paid and paid well to enjoy this park, had the opportunity to utter a word of protest, the whole scheme was thrashed out before the Council and passed? Such unseemly haste is not becoming our city fathers, and rather leads an outsider to think that they did not wish to know the opinions of those most interested, and that the thing given was not desirable enough for any other section of our city to wish it.

We have desired some things at the hands of our Council. How gladly would we have given space for the rearing of a monument to any of our beloved heroes, or welcomed a splashing fountain with its sparkling, foaming waters, reflecting the sunshine in prismatic colors! But these fitting park adornments have as yet been denied us, and this inappropriate, undesirable thing is, no, not given, but simply thrust upon us.

And, again, is there a Richmond enterprise of whatever magnitude that would be given a site here, however great the inducement?

Is there a Richmond citizen who would be allowed to build even a $50,000 mansion for his residence?

Then why should a government bureau find here a resting place, and a government official an ideal location for his residence? And a final thought is, we know not the thing we are about to do. When once this building is allowed to be built should it prove an obstruction, a thing undesirable or a nuisance, it is there to stay. A public building, with its attendant employes and loungers, is decidedly out of place in a park conceded to be the children’s playground. And the call is sounded to all interested property owners and neighbors and the parents of children who love to romp on this ideal spot to save our beautiful park from this invasion.

M. L. W.

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