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Sunset Park

Sunset Park has been "a leading Middletown park since the 1920s, and home to many concerts," said George Crout. "Once the old city bandstand was there and Frank Simon presented concerts." The area of more than 15 acres, north of Baltimore Street, "was acquired in four parcels by the city between Feb. 2, 1917, and Dec. 24, 1920." Crout said "as a boy, Frank Simon directed a community band in Middletown. After years of advanced study in Cincinnati, in 1914 he joined the famous Sousa's band. He rapidly rose to assistant director, and was heir apparent to Sousa. He gave this up when, in 1921, he was invited by the American Rolling Mill Co. to return to his hometown to organize the Armco Band. Throughout the 1920s, its reputation grew, and it was featured each week on network radio. In 1930, Simon was host for the first American Bandmaster's Association held at Middletown with John Philip Sousa in attendance." Crout said "thousands from throughout Butler County flocked to hear the Armco band performances at Armco Field and Sunset Park in Middletown -- free concerts sponsored by the steel company." Later, Simon taught for 20 years at the University of Cincinnati and, after retirement, was a visiting professor of music at the University of Arizona."


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