LIVERMORE FALLS — Veterans asked selectmen Monday to change the name of the park at the intersection of Union, Church and Main streets back to Union Park.

The Grand Army of the Republic initially donated the park to the town in the early 1900s in memory of Union soldiers who fought in the Civil War. It has since become a park to recognize veterans with monuments including a World War I monument. A First Responders monument was also placed in the park a couple of years ago.

In 2003 Geneva Hodgkins took it upon herself to clean up the overgrown park. She adopted it and worked tirelessly beautifying it. She raised money and sought donations to help restore it. She even put in Geneva’s Garden and had a cannon refurbished and placed there.

Hodgkins died on Oct. 17, 2008, and on Oct. 20, 2008, selectmen voted to rename it the Geneva Hodgkins Memorial Park.

Veterans and town officials said they will work with the Hodgkins’ family, which still takes care of the park in her memory, to resolve the conflict over the name. They plan to make sure a sign is made to respect the memory of Hodgkins and veterans. 

VFW Cmdr. Palmer Hebert said he had nothing but respect for Hodgkins. He and another veteran even broke protocol when she died and raised a casket flag in her memory, he said.


The name change has been broached several times over the years, but nothing has come of it.

Geneva “did it for the veterans. She didn’t do it to have it renamed after herself,” Hebert said.

Hebert read a speech given by the late Carlton Bailey on Memorial Day in 1923 at the park. It reflected on the soldiers who fought in the Civil War and World War I.

Selectman Kenny Jacques said he was No. 1 on Hodgkins’ speed dial when she needed something done related to the park.

“I have great respect for everyone of you folks,” Jacques said to the veterans at the meeting. “I have great respect for Geneva.”

It is still Union Park, he said. He said he remembered when he was a kid and no one dared go to the park because of its condition.


“(Geneva) put her heart and soul” into fixing up the park, he said.

Jacques said he had no problem putting up a sign that says Union Park, but he didn’t believe it should be renamed. He said he was speaking for himself and not the board.

The Hodgkins’ family maintains the park, he said, and the town does not put any money into it except to have it mowed.

He suggested that they come up with a fair resolution that remembers both and does not hurt any feelings.

Hebert reiterated that he also respected Hodgkins.

“She did that park justice. We let it, as a town, fail,” he said.


Jacques said he was told that if her name is removed all volunteer work would stop.

“The town has no money,” he said.

Resident Ron Chadwick said the park is considered hallowed ground.

He suggested putting up a sign that says it is Union Park and also that it’s Geneva’s Memorial Garden.

A sign could be put up that says Union Park and in loving memory of Geneva Hodgkins or something along those lines, selectman Chairman Bill Demaray suggested.

The change of the park’s name was an emotional decision that the public had no input into, he said. Selectmen need to not make decisions in that manner, he added.

Hebert said he would bring it to his Post 3335 in Jay to see if they would pay for a new sign.

He is also willing to work with Jacques and Willie Hodgkins, Geneva’s son, to see if they can come up with a balanced resolution to respect all involved.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.