Washington celebrates renovated Bug House Park

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) – Washington’s Bug House Park is full of playground equipment and pickleball courts, much different than how it started out 100 years ago with a group of boys.

“In 1923, there were four boys who started collecting bugs and various wildlife, and they started in a small little tent out in the woods,” said Washington Reference Specialist, Stephen Farrell.

Pasty Skinner, whose father was not one of the original four but still very involved early on, came to hear the history of the Bug House Park Saturday during the grand re-opening following renovations and to revisit memories of her father.

“He was in charge of the reptiles and used to talk about catching snakes, I thought it was terrible and rattlesnakes, and then he stuffed them or something, and he did talk about that quite a bit,” said Skinner.

Once the group outgrew the small tent they eventually built a log cabin, but things started to take a shift during WWII, as many of the boys enlisted or were drafted causing the city to take over the building. It was then turned over to the USO and the Spinsters Club who transformed it into a full recreational facility. But when the war was over, another change was made.

“Because of the recreation appreciation, they created the bug laboratory and transformed it into the first park,” said Farrell.

Now, that history is being shared with the city as the park was renovated, adding tennis and pickle ball courts along with an upgrade on the playground equipment.

Skinner said not only would her father be very pleased that the city of Washington is still preserving its history, but she was also truly touched by the event too.

“I think it is so awesome, and to see this many people out. It just warms my heart. I think they’re doing a great job, and I hope they will continue,” said Skinner.