Crapo Park is an 85 acre city park established in 1895 for Burlington's semi-centennial celebrations, and boasts an arboretum and botanical garden, located alongside the Mississippi River at Parkway Drive. It is reputed to be the site where the American flag was first raised on Iowa's soil, by Zebulon Pike in 1805. Crapo Park was also added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Crapo Park includes an arboretum containing more than 200 varieties of trees and shrubs, as well as botanical gardens of annuals and perennials. As of 2003, the following park trees were on Iowa's statewide "Big Tree" list: Arizona Cypress, Black Hickory, pawpaw, and Black Walnut.
The park was established in 1895 by Philip Crapo, a local businessman and philanthropist, in time for the semi-centennial (1896), with landscaping engineering by Earnshaw and Punshon of Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to the 4 shelter houses and walking trails through the arboretum and a number of beautiful gardens, the park includes, Lake Starker, Hawkeye Natives Log Cabin, The Pike Memorial, Foehlinger Fountain, and The Band Shell.
This 1.5-acre lake was completed in 1905. It contains goldfish and is frequented by Canadian Geese.
The Band Shell
Located on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, the band shell is the setting for regular outdoor concerts by the Municipal Band on Sunday evenings, 2nd week of June to the 2nd week of August at 7:30pm. Program information is available at the Burlington Municipal Band website. Individuals or groups wanting to reserve the band shell for other events can call 319-753-8110 for further info.
The Pike Memorial
Lt. Zebulon Pike stopped here on the shore of the Mississippi River and unfurled the United States flag in 1805 while he was searching for defensible positions for forts in the new Louisiana Purchase.
Crapo Park Arboretum
Black Hawk Cave
Commemorating Chief Black Hawk, one can crawl for more than 100 feet through a rock tube before the passage gets too small.
Hawkeye Natives Log Cabin
This log cabin is a replica of the one constructed in 1910 by the Hawkeye Natives, an organization whose membership was limited to people born in Des Moines County who had attained the age of 50. Custody of the cabin was given to the Des Moines County Historical Society in 1971; it is maintained as a museum by this group.
The Foehlinger Fountain
This electrically operated fountain changes spray patterns and the colors of its lighting during its annual operation between Memorial Day and Labor Day.