Picnic in a shell | The Riverside Bandshell

Lindsay + Tim Stockhecke


I recall the belief as a child that parks were only parks if they had a playground. The idea of a grassy stroll, picnic on a blanket, fishing in a nearby pond wasn’t something I had equated with a park but as I have now had children of my own I have found a park’s diversity wildly enticing for our entire family. Seeing how a community maintains and loves their park tells a story and Riverside Park has a tale to tell. Of particular wonder is the concrete band shell. While the park was built in 1907 the shell was built several decades later in 1938-39 by the Works Progress Administration. The famous Murphysboro 4th of July celebration began utilizing the shell for their Independence Day concert the first year it was built, touting an inaugural crowd of 45,000. The years to follow have seen performers come from near and far, community events riddled throughout the grounds, and memories made for those who call Murphysboro home and those visiting for just a bit. This year a new historical marker was dedicated and placed at the park, reading in part “a monument to the era of the Great Depression and the government programs designed to end it.”

We stopped along the way at the walk-up Bunmakers by Carter and Co, located on Old Rte 13, and always delighted by new menu items enjoyed the breakfast empanada and of course a famous sticky bun. Open Friday 6am-12pm, and Saturday/Sunday 7am-12pm they offer walk-up or drive-through ordering with picnic table seating. We chose the bandshell stage for our picnic which is accessible to visitors when no events are scheduled, and the enormity and acoustics of the stark white concrete up above are an experience to be had by anyone who visits the park.

In addition to the epic views from above and below the stage the park boasts a variety of recreational opportunities.

  1. 18-hole disc golf course with easy app guidance
  2. Fishing pond
  3. Playground
  4. Bocce ball course
  5. Dog Park
  6. Walking paths
  7. Multiple pavilions
  8. Access to the Big Muddy River
  9. WWII Monument
  10. Baseball field

Read more