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Garfield Park has held a special place in the hearts of North Topekans for more than 100 years. Dating back to a time when soldiers used to camp in the area along Soldier Creek (before the main channel was redirected to the north), the 32-acre park still has a lot to offer. In addition to the usual park amenities of playground equipment (swings, slides, climbing, etc.), benches, picnic tables and BBQ grills, the park features a community center, a large shelter house, a small swimming pool, a bandstand and an outdoor basketball court. Activities at Garfield include adult and youth sports programs, arts and crafts, the After School Cool program, the Let's Help Even Start program and numerous classes.
Just east of the community center -- on a rise overlooking a wetlands area frequented by Great Blue Herons -- is a memorial to 12 North Topekans who died in the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1971. The Soldier Creek Trail leads from the wetlands west to the Curtis Family Cemetery near Topeka Boulevard and eventually to Lyman Road.
Additional information about Garfield Park is available at http://www.topeka.org/parksrec/garfield.shtml or by calling the community center at (785) 368-3787. The center's hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to noon and 3-6 p.m. Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday.