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Spaces: The Landing, a downtown park with an alumnus connection

February 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm

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The Landing is a small community park on the west shore of the Rock River. It’s close to downtown—directly south of the Iron Works building, just across the river from the intersection of State and Grand.

Dedicated in May of 2004, the park commemorates all who worked with the Aldrich family and descendants to establish the Beloit Iron Works and enrich the community of Beloit.

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Several plaques in the park give passersby a brief history lesson: Alonzo Aldrich helped found the Beloit Iron Works in 1885. It quickly rose to prominence, gaining worldwide recognition within a few years. When Aldrich died in 1931, he was succeeded by his son-in-law Elbert H. Neese. (The names of buildings around campus are starting to make a little more sense, huh?)

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A two-pronged stainless steel tower stands at the center of the park, its tendrils reaching 60 feet skyward, making this small city park a striking landmark. The sculptor is O.V. Shaffer’50, a successful Beloit graduate who has made his living as an artist. Several of his sculptures can be found on campus (like “Siren,” which sits behind WAC, and “Confluence,” east of the Hendricks Center) and in the wider community.