A flour mill, powered by water from Ashland Creek, stood on the site of the present Lithia Park from 1854 to 1919. The park itself originated in 1892 when forty-five people from the region formed a Chautauqua Association to bring entertainment and culture to Southern Oregon. The group purchased eight acres of land and constructed a domed building for its shows. The massive wall that surrounds the seating area of the Elizabethan Theatre was the foundation of that building.
The land was later given to the city. John McLaren, long time superintendent of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, helped design Lithia Park. Many hands have helped build the park through the years.
Today, the park is host to an ever-changing display of native, ornamental, and exotic plant life. Lithia Park offers lawns, ponds, and woodlands, with a Japanese Garden, rose garden, a sycamore grove, duck pond, and a one-mile trail.