The operations center for the BCCB is Fontana Park- a special place with a unique history. Fontana has been a dam and mill site for more than 150 years. The first dam was built on Otter Creek, in what is now Fontana Park, in 1849 by Ike Richmond. The dam provided water power for a sawmill and was later used to power a gristmill. Frequent wash-outs during the 19th century led to several dam modifications. The present concrete dam was completed by Adam Kiefer, who owned the mill from the mid-1890s until 1912. Kiefer's son and a friend, Mart Coy, named the area Fontania Park. The Fontana spelling caught on later, and Fontana Park has since been known as a popular recreation area.
The Buchanan County Conservation Board acquired Fontana Park in 1959, and a large shelter house was built on the old mill foundation. The mill stones are on display near the shelter house along with information about how the mill once operated. A large renovation project restored the dam and shelter house following the historic floods of 1999.
Activities are ongoing at Fontana Park. The Fontana Interpretive Nature Center is open on weekdays and weekend afternoons. Visitors are welcome to stop by and view the nature center exhibits. Fontana also contains self-guided woodland trail, a prairie plot, a stream and reservoir, and a very popular wildlife exhibit.
Picnicking and camping are popular at Fontana Park. The shower house and dump station use a unique wetland wastewater treatment system. A wetland boardwalk allows visitors to see the system at work.
Created By Jessa Schweitzer
East Buchanan Community School Tech Team
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