The historic Casino opened in 1915 and its impact was immediate. Almost overnight it became a focal point of the park, regularly housing social gatherings and park activities. Amazingly, when it was built in 1914 the entire construction cost only $35,000. Later in 1936 when a swimming pool was erected, bathhouse facilities were added.
In 2009, after a successful capital campaign, enough funds and grants were secured to do a full scale renovation of the Casino. Over its 90 prior years, much of the foundation and interior had deteriorated badly and the huge undertaking of restoring the casino lasted more than one year. On Buhl Day, 2010 the beautiful new Casino re-opened with an open house which brought in a steady stream of 1000 visitors for a tour of the remodeled facility.
The Casino has always been well utilized over the years with a great variety of activities such as concerts, plays, teen dances, art shows, wedding receptions, prom parties, and more. The renovations have made all of these activities even more popular.
Looking across Lake Julia from the Casino veranda. Lake Julia, named in honor of Mrs. Buhl, was originally designed in 1914 as a public area for swimming. Approximately 2,000 tons of silvery sand was brought in from Lake Erie to develop the beach. Later in 1936 when a decision was made to build a swimming pool, Mrs. Buhl carefully oversaw the renovations that would transfer swimming from the lake to the public pool.
In early days and for many years to follow, Lake Julia was also used for ice skating. It was a very popular activity in the winter months but was discontinued on the lake when a new ice skating rink was built within the park in 1968.
Today, the 7.4 acre lake adds aesthetic beauty to Buhl Farm Park with its central fountain and swans and ducks swimming by. It also remains a popular fishing hotspot for those hoping to reel in a blue gill, bass, or carp.
Julia F. Buhl Memorial Garden
This beautiful sunken garden near the Buhl Boulevard entrance of the park was developed in memory of Mrs. Julia Forker Buhl, who passed away on June 3, 1936. After descending the steps into the garden you will find paths for walking with natural wildflowers as well as flower gardens planted and maintained by the park.
This area promotes the growth of natural habitat by attracting birds of many species. It is also a popular location for students of art and bridal couples seeking picturesque photographs.
The stairway entrance to the lavish Memorial Garden.
“Kayode”, sculpted by Bill Secunda, brings a new exciting dimension to Buhl Park. The unique sculpture is a life-size lion made from 4’ X 8’ sheets of metal which have been hand formed and welded together. The renowned Butler artist used simple tools such as torches, hammers, and clamps to work on the project which took him many months to complete. The lion’s pose is based on a photograph taken by the late Henry Ekker on a trip to South Africa. The sculpture was donated to Buhl Park by friends and family of Henry to remember him and his love of travel and his delight in sharing his interests with others.
Artist Bill Secunda is a self-taught metal sculptor who takes great pride and pleasure in creating the wildest of creatures ranging from insects to monsters. His huge forms which are found in cities across the United States are made by hand from nails, metals, and steel. A bear is located in downtown Aspen, Colorado, a giant beetle greets you at the St. Louis zoo and a moose is on its way to London’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not, to name a few. His sculptures have won “Best of Show” awards at Disney’s Epcot. Each of his works of art combines personality, balance and a strong sense of appreciation for nature’s creatures. More information about his art work can be seen on his website http://www.weldart.com/.
The name for the large lion sculpture is Kayode, an African name which means “he brings joy”. It is the hope of all those involved that this art form will do just that, and bring joy to young and old alike. The Buhl Trustees and Board Members recognize the importance of artistic and cultural activity within the park by offering a diverse assortment of creative expression for the residents of the Shenango Valley.
Be sure to stop by and see this latest addition to Buhl Park which is located in a small grassy area just past the bridge and across from Lake Julia. Finishing touches for the landscape will be done in the spring when the weather is appropriate for planting.
Children’s Memorial Butterfly Garden
The Butterfly Garden has two main purposes. First, it will serve as a Children’s Memorial Garden with stone pillars for memorial names. And second, it will provide an environmental educational tool for students.
Phase one is now complete with plants, flowers, crushed limestone pathway and a two benches to enjoy the beautiful scenery. The Butterfly Garden is a project that will be worked on and improved over a period of time. Phase one is now complete with plants, flowers, crushed limestone pathway and a two benches to enjoy the scenary.
If you are interested in learning more about the project or how YOU CAN HELP, please contact Pat O’Mahony at 724-981-5522 ext. 103
“Little Free Library” Dedication
SUNDAY, JUNE 9th – There will be a dedication ceremony for Butterfly Memorial Garden beginning at 4:00pm. www.teamdanielle.org
Albert Acker Gazebo
The Albert Acker Gazebo atop the kite field. On July 7, 1999 the magnificent gazebo was dedicated to Albert E. Acker, who served as trustee to Buhl Farm Park from 1968 to the time of his passing in 1998. The construction was made possible through the generosity of the Acker family, Acker friends, and the Mercer County Bar Association.
The gazebo, a charming open structure, sits atop the kite field and allows a passerby to stop, take a break, and capture the spirit of Buhl Farm Park. It has become a favorite place for an intimate marriage proposal or wedding ceremony. Its serene setting overlooks the entire park and surrounding community with the west hill of Sharon visible in the distance.
Annually on May 1st, Law Day is celebrated here with an informative speaker and the gathering of judges, lawyers, and community friends.
Performing Arts Center
The Performing Arts Center was built to replace the old band shell and was dedicated on June 14, 1981. The Center’s stage is nestled among the trees and has a large grassy area in front creating a natural viewing area for spectators.
During the summer, outdoor concerts are held every Sunday at 6pm and Wednesday at 6:30pm for audiences of 300 to 1500 who often relax in chairs, on blankets, or seated on available benches. It is also common to see audience members bring picnic baskets of food and non-alcoholic beverages to enhance their concert-going experience. In 2011, volunteers began a concession offering grilled hot dogs, snacks and chips for a modest donation. If you would like to see the current schedule of upcoming concerts, please visit the Summer Concerts page within Special Events.
The Performing Arts Center also plays a major role for the activities on Buhl Day with singers, dancers, and bands performing on its stage throughout this festive day.
The Arboretum adds beauty to the kite field. When Buhl Farm Park opened in 1915, Mr. Buhl had approximately 75,000 trees and shrubs planted by his work crews. Most of these trees still remain, but in 2001 the F. H. Buhl Trustees determined a need to reforest and develop new wooded areas throughout the park. An arboretum committee was formed with community professionals volunteering their expertise in horticulture, gardening, and reforestation. Since the committee’s inception, over 250 new trees have been added throughout the park.
One benefiting area is near the gazebo atop the kite field. A variety of pear, oak, maple, spruce, sweet gum, and birch trees have been planted. Becky’s Garden, named in loving memory of Becky Koborie who was a victim of the World Trade Center attack, features a combination of lilac, spirea, and rose shrubs. Packs of rhododendron planted on the wooded hillside complete this picturesque area of the park.
New red maple, pine oak, and shag bark hickory trees have also been added near the Performing Arts Center and six new red maple trees have been planted in front of Shelter #3. A fourth area enhanced with new plantings is along the road from the Gatehouse to the Sharon Country Club. This strip is affectionately referred to as “Oak Alley” and includes pine oak, burr oak, red oak, single oak, and swamp oak trees.
In 2002, Buhl Farm Park was awarded a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to develop a wetland which could offer an invaluable environment for educational study. Vegetation for the area was purchased through a grant from the Community of the Alleghenies and the three to four acre wetland was created. Currently it provides flood and sediment control for the large adjacent pond.
With assistance from Mercer County Conservation District and First Energy Corporation, interpretive wetland signs have been placed throughout the area to educate the community regarding conservation and wetlands. The adjacent .9 mile fitness trail which encircles the wetlands, offers an excellent opportunity for residents to appreciate the beauty of our natural wetland and to learn about the vegetation and wildlife from the interpretive signs.
Watch this WETLAND VIDEO. In 2009, Notre Dame School children worked as park partners to enhance our wetlands