“The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up.”
― Mark Twain
Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Missouri, Mark Twain is often considered the greatest American writer. Twain’s life was filled with tragedy from a young age, but he embraced his grief with humor which give his books wide appeal among readers even today. His early books like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn drew from his experiences growing up on the Mississippi River and have filled readers with a sense of adventure for generations.
George Mulligan could have been a character in a Twain novel. He grew up on a ranch in No-Man’s Land in the Oklahoma panhandle in the 1880s. He worked as a cowboy as a young man and then struck out for Alaska to take part in the great Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s. There he made and lost a great fortune in gold and eventually returned to Oklahoma to farm near Oklahoma City.
It’s hard to imagine, but before the 1950s this area was on the south side of the river, nestled inside a gently curving bend. In 1926 George and his wife Stella purchased the small patch of land between NW 1 Terrace and NW 4, Villa and Tuttle and created the West Lawn Garden addition. Mulligan named the main road Mulligan Blvd (now NW 1 Terr) and the nearby school was also named Mulligan School originally. Because of its location in the river flat, the area was commonly referred to as Mulligan Flats or simply The Flats. Now the river has moved to the south, the school now goes by the name Mark Twain, and the neighborhood goes by Westlawn Gardens.
This park was added to the park system in 1968 and name for the nearby school and the great American author, Mark Twain.