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Ask Mr. Answer Person: "Why might Decorah's newest park be named 'Tavener Fields'?"

Posted: Mon, Oct 7, 2013 9:27 AM

An on-line poll to pick the name of Decorah's newest park will end at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday.  People are being asked to pick one of three names:
--Will Baker Athletic Fields
--Riverbend Fields
--Tavener's Fields.
Carole e-mails Mr. Answer Person: "I'm Just wondering if you could give some background on the "Tavener" in the proposed name for the new park."

Mr. Answer Person says, "Thanks to the help of Midge Kjome at the Decorah Genealogy Library, I'd be happy to give you some background.

John I. Tavener, Senior was born in Canada in 1847, then came to Winneshiek County in 1856.  He settled in the northern part of Winneshiek County, but he and his son, John I. Tavener, Junior, bought property on both sides of the Upper Iowa River--including the property that now constitutes the new park.

The Taveners operated Tavener Mill and in the process built "Tavener's Dam" and "Tavener's Bridge," which was one of the names sometimes used to describe the old Fifth Avenue Bridge.  An 1886 property plan of the City of Decorah shows both structures, as well as ownership of the property by the Taveners.

So, to answer your question, Carole, one of the three proposed park names honors the former owners of the property on which the park sits.

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