DeRivera Park is a beautiful green expanse in the middle of downtown Put-in-Bay. This oasis provides islanders with a spot to play, picnic, and relax the summer away.
DeRivera Park Details
The entire park is dotted with large, leafy trees offering plenty of shady spots to throw down a picnic blanket. There are also lots of picnic tables and two BBQ pits for afternoon cookouts. People love to gather here and grill up perch and walleye caught in Lake Erie, throw a football, and enjoy each other’s company. A larger grill is located closer to the memorial
Public restrooms and lockers are also onsite. The restrooms include showers for those coming right off the boat. A pretty gazebo is available for public usage. You can rent the 19’ diameter gazebo for private parties and weddings for only $50. Just contact the office to arrange the details.
A gorgeous fountain lies in the center of the park made from cement and local stone. It was originally built by three local businessmen. It also lights up at night and once included happy little goldfish swimming about. Coins thrown into the fountain are all donated to the local EMS. Make a wish and support this important island institution.
The playground includes a swing set and dolphins and seals figurines for kids to play on. The swings are perfect for really little kids. Older kids enjoy playing on the full playground with slides, fireman’s pole, and walkways to monkey around on.
Named in honor for Jose DeRivera, the park is right on the banks of Lake Erie and surrounded by Put-in-Bay attractions. It greets visitors arriving to the island on the Jet Express Ferry and surrounding docks, including DeRivera Park B Dock. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial can be seen in the distance.
Favorite local Put-in-Bay bars, restaurants, and shops are all just steps away. Kimberly’s Carousel is right across the street along with the Put-in-Bay Candy Bar. Enjoy a drink and live music at a favorite Put-in-Bay restaurant for both visitors and locals alike, the Boathouse Bar and Grill. After a day spent in the sun, the Boathouse is the place to be.
The History of DeRivera Park
In 1854 Jose DeRivera, a Spanish merchant, bought South Bass, Middle Bass, Sugar, Gibraltar, Ballast and Starve Islands for a price of $44,000. He was also instrumental in developing the island, first by building a stave mill and a saw mill in 1854. He then started to divide the area into 10 acre parcels with the help of an engineer.
DeRivera sold off parcels of South and Middle Bass Islands. His generosity is no more apparent then when he sold the South Bass Board of Education a quarter of an acre for the construction of Put-In-Bay’s first school for $1. He also sold St. Paul’s Church their land for only $10.
After the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812, three American soldiers and three British soldiers were buried on the site of the future DeRivera Park under a willow tree. Once Perry’s Monument was built in the early twentieth century, the bodies were moved there as a symbolic gesture of international peace.