Our newly renovated park is the center of Mainstreet, Parker, and is an iconic part of the town. Standing in O’Brien Park is a stone marker placed by the State of Colorado. It marks ¼ mile east of the spot of the first house in Parker, a stagecoach stop built in 1864. It was moved from the NW corner of Mainstreet and Parker Rd. (visible above) due to road widening. It was just twenty miles south of Denver, thus called the Twenty Mile House.
The park is named after Charles Henry O’Brien (1901-1984), "The third of William and Annie’s five children, was born at Twin Houses and, with occasional absences, lived in the Parker area all his life. He became what could be described as Parker’s leading citizen. In his lifetime he was engaged in many businesses: Parker Drug, Parker News, O’Brien Construction Company, Parker Denver Truck Line, O’Brien Realty and the O'Brien hardware and liquor store. He was a civic booster. He donated the land for O’Brien Park and was a member of numerous civic organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club, the Optimist Club, the Parker Breakfast Club, Douglas County Safety Board, the list goes on and on." (from Parker Colorado: An Historical Narative by Ruth L. Miller) As an adult, Charlie lived in downtownParker in a house built in 1932 at 11017 Pikes Peak Drive.
"Baseball in Parker goes back to the early 1900s, but the first game on this (now O'Brien Park) site was recorded in the May 16, 1935 issue of the Parker News. In the early 1960s, the park was used for adult softball league games and little league baseball events. In 1950 the property, approximately eight acres, was donated by Charles H. O'Brien and Lena Pouppirt to the newly formed Parker Community Club which operated the ballpark with donations received from the community.
In honor of Charlie O'Brien's community service and membership on the first recreation board, the park was designated O'Brien Park in 1978. Under the ownership of the Town of Parker, the park has grown to a multi-functional community park, a jewel in the center of town." (text from the Historic Walking Tour brouchure). Also in the 1970s a trolley bus station was built in O’Brien Park with a vision to shuttle people from historic downtown to Rowley Downs. The structure on the other end of the route can still be seen at Parker Vista Road and Mainstreet.
O’Brien Park was listed on the Parker Landmark Register on July 21, 2003. The current park contains a softball field, basketball court, new multi-tiered playgrounds, an outdoor pool,
and a large grassy expanse of trees and lawn. The large and beautiful gazebo was donated to the town of Parker by the Rotary Club of Parker in 2004 and replaced a previous smaller gazebo. It sits on the southeast corner near the intersection of Mainstreet and Victorian Drive, where much of the Parker nightlife happens.
The gazebo is the location for concerts, the sendoff for the Mayor’s Day of Service and the spotlight for the Mayor’s Tree Lighting. Kieffer's Crossing tunnel, which goes from O’Brien Park and under Parker Road, displays student paintings and a mural of historic Parker. The park also displays various permanent public sculptures by Colorado artists. The park is the center for many Parker events including various festivals, Art in the Park, and the state-wide famous Parker Days. It is a special gathering place in the heart of Parker that brings the community together.