THE RICHARD KEMPER PARK: HOW IT CAME TO BE
May, 1945--A parcel of land fronting the Boston Post Road and adjoining school property is offered to the School District for $3000. The offer is rejected because “no funds are available.” (School Board Minutes, May 8, 1945)
June, 1945--Adolph and Helen Kemper offer to buy and donate to the School District this parcel and two others to form a World War II Memorial Park honoring their son, Richard, who was killed in Normandy. The offer is accepted by the School Board with the proviso that the Park be created “without cost to the School District.” (School Board Minutes, June 12, l945).
September, 1945 and January, 1946--The Kempers purchase the properties for $13,500. The properties are transferred to the Mamaroneck School District. (Town of Mamaroneck Assessment Records)
1946-47--The dilapidated existing buildings on the property are razed. The Kempers design a park that has walkways, granite benches, landscaping and a granite monument. The monument was engraved with the names of all of those from the Mamaroneck School District who died in service to their country during World War II. Some of these individuals have no gravesite, as their bodies were never recovered. Mr. Kemper pays all of the costs.
May 7, 1946--School Board Trustee Theodore Riegel states “This Park will become a place of beauty as a worthy memorial to the boys and girls of the school district who so valiantly gave their lives for our protection and peace.” (School Board Minutes, May 7, 1946)
May 25, 1947--The Dedication of the Richard Kemper Park. The Memorial Park was presented to the School District by Mr. Kemper, his wife, Helen, and daughter, Jean, with “the fervent hope that never again will it be necessary for others to suffer as the families and friends of those who gave their lives in the last war suffered.” (The Daily Times, May 26, 1947)
May 25, 1947—Charles W. Pease, School Board President, accepts the Memorial Park for the district on behalf of the school trustees. (The Daily Times, May 26, 1947)
May 29, 1947—In a letter to Mr. Kemper, Hoyt D. Smith, Principal of Mamaroneck Junior High School, thanks him for “having converted an unsightly area into a beautiful park which will be hallowed ground for all time.” (Mr. Smith knew many of the individuals on the monument personally, as they were students at the Junior High School during his tenure.)