In 1908, the City’s newly established Chamber of Commerce secured deeds of three parcels of land which marked the beginning of Porterville’s first City Park. The land included the 2-acre site of the old brewery donated by Henry Hunsaker; a 9- acre plot was deeded by George Murry who was a local lawyer and son of early settler Pat Murry; and 19 acres from the Pioneer Land Company which was home to Porterville’s early flour mill. W.P Bartlett became a major proponent of the park project and was intimately involved with the planning and fundraising for development. It was with this project and his ambition that a Committee on Parks was officially formed and would later develop into our current Parks Commission.
Originally named Burbank Park after famed botanist Luther Burbank, the 20 acres of rolling hills became a recreational source of pride for the Porterville community and greater Tulare County. It is uncertain exactly why the name of the park was changed to memorialize George Murry after his passing, but is has been suggested that his loveable personality and the fact that he had been the City Attorney was of influence.
In addition to the name change, the park has undergone considerable transformation over the more than 100 years of existence. Early features including several statues, a bandstand, tea house, caged animals and flour mill no longer remain. They have been replaced by more modern elements such as covered pavilions, two children’s play areas and the municipal swimming pool, which was constructed in 1954. A segment of the Pioneer Ditch still passes through the park and is embellished with a stone waterfall and rock bridge.
The centerpiece of Murry Park remains the unique pond surrounding an island which attracts not only visitors but the ever-popular wild ducks and geese. There was once a bridge that connected to the island but was removed for safety reasons. The pond has been restocked with fish each year since the 1940’s.
- 4 covered pavilions
- 5 picnic areas
- 2 playgrounds
- 9-hole disc golf course
- Fishing Pond
- City Pool & pool pavilion