A drinking fountain topped with a statue of dentist Dr. Henry Cogswell, who made strides in dentistry and became wealthy through investing in real estate, was installed in 1884. It is no longer there (vandals apparently tore it down) but it was one of several Cogswell had put up around the country. As a supporter of the Temperance Movement (the movement that called for the banning of alcohol), he wanted the public to enjoy free drinking water. As such, they were called Temperance Fountains. The one here was also dedicated to an Iowan Kate Shelley who, apparently, stopped the train Cogswell was riding on during a bad rain storm. Her actions saved many lives. Cogswell's detractors, including local brewers, criticized the fountain as being more a memorial to himself than Shelley.
Over the years, the park was used for a variety of public events and gatherings including concerts. In 1896, William Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West was held in the park. In 1899, President William McKinley gave a speech from the gazebo.