History of Pinewood Bowl in Pioneers Park
The Protector of Pioneers Park!
Pioneers Park was formally dedicated by the City of Lincoln on May 17, 1930, by Mayor Love. Mr. John Harris was present as a guest of honor. He donated some 500 acres of land as a tribute and memorial to his parents and other pioneer men and women who settled and established the community.
In 1930, Lincoln was a bustling town of 50,000. Havelock and adjacent towns were not yet part of the city. During the Great Depression, 200 men set out trees and worked at various tasks laying out the Park under the WPA (Works Projects Administration) Program. Nearby Haines Creek was a constant problem, flooding the new park on several occasions.
The BowlPinewood Bowl - 1954
Pinewood Bowl history goes back to 1942, when the city was geared to war-time efforts. A large number of servicemen were stationed at the Lincoln Air Base. The Ministerial Association and the Women's Division of the Chamber of Commerce recognized a need for Sunday evening services for the servicemen and their families. They began on the steps of the Capitol, holding services for as many as 1,000 people. After the war there was a feeling that these services should be continued, and out of these open air services grew the unique Pinewood Bowl tradition.
The first stage of the Bowl was built in 1946-1947. A fund drive raised $25,000 in construction monies. Dr. Gerald Kennedy, Pastor of St. Paul's Methodist Church, headed the committee made up of Sam Waugh, Fern Casford, Norma Carpenter, Arthur Dobson and Joe Seacrest. Chet Ager was involved in the various park expansion and improvement programs. When he laid out the park he envisioned an outdoor theater in a natural hollow, and planted trees to rim it. Very little excavation was needed to form the stage and seating areas. Benches, dressing rooms, storage buildings and a refreshment stand were also built. Dedication was held on July 13, 1947. Names of men and women form Lincoln and Lancaster County lost in the war were sealed in the bronze plaque on the entrance walkway.
Since its dedication, Pinewood Bowl has been the site of hundreds of community events, including weddings and graduations. Easter sunrise services have been held in the Bowl since 1949. The Singfest Committee and its successor, the Pinewood Bowl, Inc. Committee, have sponsored musicals at the facility since 1947.
Today Pinewood Bowl continues to serve the community and surrounding areas by carrying on the rich performance tradition. Some of our actors who first appeared on Pinewood’s stage in their youth, have gone on to pursue a career in the performing arts, such as Courtney Piccoli Director/Choreographer, and Samantha Marie Ware, currently starring in as Nala in the Walt Disney's Las Vegas Production of The Lion King.
Please consider helping us continue in this “living memorial” by donating your time, your talents, or by making a monetary donation. It is our hope to continue offering quality, affordable shows for the entire family, but we cannot do it without your support.