Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hailey taking input on rodeo grounds renaming

Leopold Werthheimer could be memorialized

Express Staff Writer

Leopold Werthheimer Photo courtesy of Blaine County Museum

    The Hailey City Council is welcoming public input for the renaming of the Hailey Rodeo Grounds, which now includes a skatepark, welcome center and hockey rink.
    City leaders have put forward the name of Werthheimer Park as a possibility, which would commemorate Leopold Werthheimer, a historic Hailey businessman and civic leader.
    Werthheimer, who was a director of the Hailey National Bank in the early 1900s, donated $1,000 in 1913 to the city to refurbish the Hailey Rodeo Grounds, which at that time were used as a horse- racing track.
    Some Hailey citizens have alternatively suggested naming the rodeo grounds Hailey Gateway Park. Others have recommended continuing to use the name Hailey Rodeo Grounds.
    The City Council will hold a public hearing in the near future to gather further input before officially naming the area.
    Hailey Historic Preservation Commissioner Rob Lonning presented historical research Monday to the City Council regarding Leopold Werthheimer.
    Lonning said Werthheimer’s family immigrated from Germany to New York in 1872.
    Leopold Werthheimer moved from Cheyenne, Wyo., to Hailey in 1884 when he was 30. He continued the family clothing business, ranched and lent money.
     The Wood River Times editor reported on Dec. 29, 1913, the day of Leopold Werthheimer’s funeral, that he “was a substantial, charitable, progressive and a believer in the future of this region.”
    The front-page news story states that “about 25 sleighs carrying 4 to 10 mourners each” accompanied Werthheimer’s remains to the cemetery for his funeral.  
    “When Leopold Werthheimer breathed his last, there expired one of the pillars of the community,” the Wood River Times reported.

Tony Evans

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