Formerly known as "City Park", the park was purchased by the estate of Travis Phillips, former grocer, alderman and mayor, and donated to the city.
A total of 60 acres, at $400 per acre, were purchased from [State Senator] Henry Evans.
The park was renamed Phillips Park in 1902.

Postcard submitted by Karen Miller

Golfers noted with sorrow the passing of E.W. Thompson and citizens generally mourned a former city commissioner who was faithful and efficient and so careful of the city's money he came to be termed a watchdog of the treasury.

As commissioner of parks Mr. Thompson employed experts to lay out a golf course at Phillips park - which is recognized as one of the best public courses in the country. Even players accustomed to the fine courses maintained by richly endowed clubs enjoy playing the Phillips park 18 holes and the course was put in at comparatively little cost. So attractive has it made the game to lovers of out doors many hundreds now play golf who a few years ago had never had a club in their hands. Mr. Thompson did not put in the golf course and improve it from year to year because of personal interest in the game: What inspired him was a realization that for man or woman employed in shop, factory or the home there was no tonic like good exercise in the fresh air. And this and good companionship, golf furnishes.

For that matter everything about parks appealed to Mr. Thompson; baseball fields, and tennis courts, woods and flowers, the green and the open spaces. He had been a farmer when young and love of the outdoors and its games was in him. He recognized too what it all meant to public health and morale. Just before he died he was pushing a proposition for a park district to take in Aurora and environs. With such a district in being we would have a park commission whose sole duty it would be to provide and look after parks. To see that they were made as attractive as possible and equipped for all forms of out door recreation.

A successful business man because he was energetic and fair dealing and had good judgment, Mr. Thompson would have campaigned successfully for the district. It is to be hoped that this last promotion of his will be taken up by others and carried to successful conclusion. It would be a tribute to him that.people no doubt believe deserved. As fitting as naming a park after him or putting therein a memorial. [Submitted by William Thompson]

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©Kim Torp