By Allen Smith
For the Weekly Record Herald
WEST MILTON — The West Milton Rotary Club program on Aug. 31 was a presentation by one of our members, Rotarian, James Sarver, of Sarver Family Funeral Homes in West Milton.
The meeting was held at his property at Overlook Park in West Milton, off of Rt. 48 near the northern limits. Jim provided a picnic lunch, including hot dogs on the grill and homemade ice cream.
Jim also gave the program on the “History of Overlook Park.” The park was built in 1902 when the Inter Urban Hub was in West Milton built by the D C & P Traction Co. A Power House and Car Barn was located just south of the park. Operating from 1902 until 1926 when it became insolvent, the D.C.& P. hauled passengers, mail, and freight with generally two cars per train (known as a combine). The D.C.& P. connected with many other interurban lines in Dayton so that passengers could travel throughout the region with ease.
The D.C.& P., also known as the Overlook Route, was especially popular in summer months when classic open-air excursion cars were used to take city dwellers to Overlook Park in West Milton for a day in the country. It was not unusual to have from 4000 to 8000 visitors over the weekend.
There was no cost for attending Overlook Park except for the cost of the food. There were 40 to 50 boats or canoes for use on the Stillwater River. There was a sandy beach for swimming. There was a dining hall near the river and the UCC would feed thousands of people each day.
At one time there were clay tennis courts and a ball diamond near the dining hall. The hillside from the lower area near the river up to the Dance Hall and Skating Rink at the top would be full of people. The Dance Hall was open all year long.
One main reason the popularity of Overlook Park diminished was that General Motors built Triangle Park in Dayton, much closer for those in Dayton to spend a weekend in a nice park for relaxation and fun. The facility remained open for Roller Skating until the mid-50’s.
Jim concluded his presentation by answering questions, providing the names of the previous owners and some of his future plans to improve Overlook Park.