“There is little joy in piling up money that you do not need, and so the
    majority of my earnings have been spent in providing beaches, parks,
    churches and schools. Our first major gift was Jean Klock Park, a half mile
    of Lake Michigan frontage, which was given to the city of Benton Harbor. I
    say “our” for my wife was very anxious to give this park to the city in
    memory of our little child. Her untimely death made possible the giving to
    other children the share of our earnings which belonged to her, but which
    she could not use."           ~Excerpt from John Klock's Autobiography ~

    In 1917, John Nellis Klock and his wife Carrie purchased then deeded a stellar 90
    acre parcel of Lake Michigan frontage to be "used by" the City of Benton Harbor
    Michigan and surrounding communities explicitly and "forever" as a public park and
    bathing beach. The property was dedicated "for the children" and was named Jean
    Klock Park in memory of their daughter who died as a young child.

    John and Carrie Klock wrote a letter to the Mayor and Common Council titled; "It Is
    More Blessed To Give Than To Receive." The letter made it clear that the gift was
    a memorial to their daughter Jean and that it was their wish that the original 90 acres
    of lake frontage would "... always be preserved in its natural state and be a
    playground for the children and a bathing beach for everyone."

    Click on dedication day photos below to enlarge them

    The July 11, 1917 dedication ceremony drew a crowd of over 4,000 people.

    In his dedication speech Mr. Klock stated: “In taking an inventory of life, we all
    take stock of the circumstances surrounding the happiest moments. The giving
    of this park to the city of Benton Harbor has been to Mrs. Klock and myself,
    the happiest moment of our lives. The deed of this park in the courthouse of
    St. Joseph will live forever. Perhaps some of you do not own a foot of ground,
    remember then, that this is your park, it belongs to you. Perhaps some of you
    have no piano or phonograph, the roll of the water murmuring in calm,
    roaring in storm, is your music, your piano and music box.... The beach is
    yours, the drive is yours, the dunes are yours, all yours. It is not so much a gift
    from my wife and myself, it’s a gift from a little child.  See to it, that the park
    is the children's.
    Miss Ruth Sykes, who had the
    honor of accepting Jean Klock
    Park on behalf of the city’s
    children stated:

    “The securing of means for
    bettering its children is one of
    the most blessed things that
    can befall a city or nation. The
    receiving of this park is a
    means which Benton Harbor
    is today grateful to receive.
    The Great out of doors
    affording, a place for play and
    exercise as necessary, this
    need is answered in this
    park.”  Declared the children’s
    representative, “The children
    of Benton Harbor will have
    the benefit of the learning the
    beauties of nature.”
Save Jean Klock Park
Klock Family's Legacy and Gifts to the Community

Friends of Jean Klock Park | PO Box 8988 | Benton Harbor, MI 49023 |
© 2012 Friends of Jean Klock Park. All Rights Reserved.