Downtown Green Space

Idle Men in Lucas Park

by Michael R. Allen

In 1940, the Salvation Army opened an Industrial Center for job training adjacent to the YWCA Building at 1411 Locust Street, now the New Life Evangelistic Center. A January 1940 report from the Advisory Committee of the local Salvation Army on establishing the center notes with concern that a “floating population of idle men fills the benches in the park back of the library [sic].” This park, of course, is Lucas Park and this situation, of course, continues to this day.

The building housing the Salvation Army’s Industrial Center, by the way, has been demolished for a surface parking lot.