COMMUNITY CENTER Parker's original community center owes its beginnings to basketball.
The Schoolhouse Building on Mainstreet was built in 1915 and originally housed
grades one to 12. High schoolers attended the Mainstreet location from 1915 until 1958 when the school was closed. Parker students began attending Douglas County High School with students from Castle Rock until Ponderosa High School was dedicated in 1983. In the 1940s, Parker High School had a great basketball team and they were hopeful of the state championship. The gym in the old school house was small and some of Parker’s opponents thought it was unsafe. They threatened to kick Parkerout of the league. The gym was decertified, and Parker High School did not have a venue to play basketball. The community pulled together to build a new location for school sports and events. The Quonset hut style building was built in 1950 by the community. People in the community contributed money, time, materials and work to make the idea a reality. Thankful for a community center to serve the school and town events, the town celebrated on Thanksgiving, 1951, with women from the community providing 15 turkeys along with all the traditional accompaniments. It was a Thanksgiving to remember.
Old timers who attended the historic schoolhouse remember walking to the Quonset hut each day for lunch while the school lunchroom was being remodeled. On the Parker Area Historical Society Facebook page, townspeople shared memories of square dancing, craft shows, haunted houses, community classes, wedding receptions, 4H clubs, and even the beginnings of the Parker Task force tied to this building. Box social memories were shared where women provided a box lunch, and their lunch was auctioned off for a donation. It served as a roller-skating rink for many years and one man recalled riding his horse to the building to roller skate. For a time, there were monthly dances held every second Saturday in the community center. In the mid 90s, youth sports teams played at the Quonset hut and teen nights were held there. The Parker Police Department was also housed in the building at one point.
Eventually, the center was seldom used and fell into disrepair. There were plans to turn it into an ice rink, but it would not be big enough for the official NHL rink size. In 2003, the Town Council made the decision to tear down the building. It was one of Colorado’s largest wood structures at the time, according to a Parker Chronicle article on May 1, 2003. The gazebo and surrounding landscape now stand in the location of the old community center in O’Brien Park.