The most popular park among Chillicothean’s has been used by residents since the early 1890’s. During James Kinlooch’s term as mayor, the “Old Woods” property came up for sale. The mayor was farsighted enough to realize that it would make an ideal city park. Called Columbia Park, the property became a popular gathering place almost overnight. Picnics, family reunions and neighborhood ball games all found their way to the new park. Sunday crowds were so large that a dance pavilion was built and band concerts filled the air with music each Sunday afternoon. Columbia Park became so popular that steamboats had to stop there to let off picnickers from Lacon, Henry, Pekin, and Peoria.
About 1913 the name of the park was changed to the Peoria Auto Club. A clubhouse was built and it became a special place for those wealthy enough to own a car. By the early 1920’s the newness of the car was wearing off and the name of the park was changed again, this time to North Shore Country Club. A nine-hole golf course added to its popularity and prestige.
In the late 1930’s, Frank Eyers bought the property and changed the name to Shore Acres Park. 1948 found the land in the hands of the Chillicothe Park District.
Today, Shore Acres is still the most popular gathering place for area residents. The old clubhouse has been rejuvenated by local organizations and the park board. The new aquatic center is in constant use during the summer, and the lighted softball field attracts teams from throughout the area. Three tennis courts are located south of the swimming pool, two beautiful pavilions can be found at the north and south ends of the park, two full court basketball courts are located on the south end of the park, and Riggins River Walk provides a scenic view of the Illinois River.
The clubhouse and grounds are being watched over by the park board, to ensure area residents will always have this beautiful park.