Originally dubbed the South Side Park, the park encompassed 127 acres. In 1920, it was hotly debated as to what to name the new park but was ultimately decided to name it Stodden Park in honor of Butte’s mayor, William T. Stodden, who gifted the land to the city of Butte.
By 1926, the Exchange Club “first instituted a movement for public links”, to which the mayor and city council recommended the donation of Stodden Park as a site for a municipal golf course. When it first opened in 1927, the course charged $10 for a season pass or 50 cents per day. The course had nine holes, but by 1929 it had expanded to 18 holes.
In 1965, a community effort was started to create a swimming pool. The swimming pool made it onto the ballot but did not pass the bond issue. In 1968, Mr. and Mrs. John E. Corette donated $100,000 towards a pool for the children of Butte. Other monies were secured through a donation from Butte Kiwanis, as well as from Silver Bow County. Stodden Park was named as the site of the new pool and construction started. It opened to the public on August 1, 1969. In 1995, the pool was named Corette Memorial Pool in honor of the original donors. The pool was closed in 2005.
Baseball fields were added to the park in 1974. In 1977, new playground equipment was installed, as well as an additional nine-hole golf course. On Veterans Day 1978, a groundbreaking ceremony was held by a local group of Vietnam War veterans called Tripwire, for an amphitheater and war memorial. Eventually other war memorials were moved to location as well.
More recently, the taxpayers of Butte-Silver Bow voted to create a new water park, which opened in 2018. The public voted to name it Ridge Waters. At the same time the playground was updated with new equipment, funded by the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation and Montana Resources. The park’s upgrade included a 12-foot-high version of the Big M, three 20-foot-tall headframes with slides and climbing walls, new tennis courts, a new entrance from Rowe Road, a pavilion with a gazebo, and picnic tables.
Also housed at Stodden Park is the Spirit of Columbia Gardens Carousel, which was inspired by the carousel that was at the Columbia Gardens, an amusement park created for the children of Butte by Senator William A. Clark in 1899 that was later sold to and operated by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. The Columbia Gardens caught fire and burned in 1973.
The carousel effort was first organized in 1996, consisting of passionate volunteers who raised money and learned to carve horses. The horses were sponsored by various community groups and families. It opened to the public in 2018 in a building designed by local architect, Pete Godtland.