In 1967, the Fowler McCormick's donated 100 acres of McCormick Ranch to the City of Scottsdale stipulating that it be used as a park for all to enjoy. At that time the land value was $1 million. Their hope was that the gift would encourage others to give as well as to make Scottsdale a better place to live for succeeding generations. The area circled in red on the map was known as "South Ranch".
The original location of the park was to be on 50 acres on the west side of Scottsdale Road. Complaints arose from the town of Paradise Valley so, to avoid difficulty, it was agreed to move across the street, wholly within, Scottsdale city limits. The land size of the park was cut from 50 to 30 acres.
Knowing today how Scottsdale has grown, it is interesting to note that there was a concern that people may not have wanted to travel that far north to visit a park.
Guy Stillman, the son of Anne and Fowler McCormick, was the driving force behind the creation of the park. His 5/12 Paradise and Pacific Railroad assembled on his property at the Stillman Ranch was offered to the city in 1971. The locomotive and cars were faithfully produced replicas of the Century Narrow Gauge Railway equipment over a 20 year time period. The Paradise and Pacific was to be the center point of the park. Walt Disney had even offered to buy the railroad from Guy for a theme park he was developing, but Guy wanted to keep it in Scottsdale.
Stillman and others founded the Scottsdale Railroad & Mechanical Society which raised funds for the park's creation. The Federal Government contributed $100,000, the city of Scottsdale also donated $100,000, and under Stillman's leadership the society raised over $100,000.