Four-State Staycation: Cunningham Park

JOPLIN, Mo. – Cunningham Park in Joplin was a popular century-old city park with tall oak trees and an iconic ban stand. That all changed May 22, 2011.

The park found itself in the path of the catastrophic EF5 tornado that hit Joplin.

“We lost every blade of grass out of this park ten years ago,” said Patrick Tuttle of Visit Joplin MO. “So what the park service has done to bring this back to life with donations and a lot of sweat equity make it a beautiful landmark for the city.”

As Joplin rebuilt following the tornado, officials decided to make Cunningham Park stand as a tribute to those who lost their lives and community’s ability recover. It’s home to several landmarks telling the story of the Joplin tornado. That includes the butterfly garden, a plaque with the 161 names of those passed, pencil sketch houses and more.

“(Cunningham Park) is very much a tribute to the survivors of the tornado, and I also got to say that the resilience of the people that we have with the families that bounces back. They put their boots up, got their houses cleaned up and rebuilt,” said Tuttle.

On the 10th anniversary of the tornado, Cunningham Park will be the site of the annual Memorial Run and a special remembrance ceremony later in the day. The Memorial Run begins at 6:30 a.m. and the remembrance ceremony begins at 5:15 p.m.