2014 Lone Star Legacy Parks
The Texas Recreation and Park Society honored eight parks with the Lone Star Legacy Park designation at the Institute & EXPO Feb. 19, 2014 in Corpus Christi. A Lone Star Legacy Park meets strict criteria including at least 50 years of history, a distinctive design and association with events specific to the local community. The 2014 Lone Star Legacy Parks are Meadowbrook Park, Arlington; Fireman’s Park, Brenham; Gussie Field Watterworth Park, Farmers Branch; Davis Mountains State Park and Indian Lodge, Fort Davis; Lindheimer Plaza, New Braunfels; Bergfeld Park, Tyler; Getzendaner Memorial Park, Waxahachie; and Emancipation Park, Houston.
Lone Star Award photos by Edgar De La Garza, DLG Photography
Meadowbrook Park, Arlington, established in 1923
Located just one mile east of downtown Arlington, and nestled amongst busy commuter traffic, Meadowbrook Park provides a 52-acre historical oasis for its residents. Arlington’s first official city park and golf course was sponsored by the Arlington Rotary Club, who provided the funding to purchase the property in 1923 for a mere $5,200. Meadowbrook Park was dedicated to the citizens of Arlington and named after the adjacent housing subdivision.
Today, Meadowbrook Park users can enjoy such amenities as a half-mile hike and bike trail, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, large pavilion, shaded
playgrounds and a monarch butterfly waystation which provides necessary resources to produce successive generations and sustain migration patterns. The 9-hole golf course features six par-four and three par-three holes and includes small greens and narrow fairways designed to challenge even the most advanced level of players. The course clubhouse offers a fully functioning pro shop, concessions and golf cart rentals and is a certified cooperative sanctuary through Audubon International, an agency designed to deliver high-quality environmental education and facilities while teaching the sustainability of land, water, wildlife and other natural resources.
Fireman's Park, Brenham, established in 1883
A heated exchange between Union soldiers and local citizens in September, 1866 led to the eventual development of the City of Brenham's flagship park. The soldiers, part of an infantry company stationed in the city during Reconstruction, took issue with comments made in the local newspaper and set the town on fire not once, but twice.
And so was born the Brenham Fire Department,organized under the pretense of protecting the community from fire, but in reality as a way to defend it from the Union soldiers. The department's history has been intertwined with that of the City ever since. It was through the fire department's generosity that Fireman's Park was founded. In November 1883, the Mechanics Engine Company No. 1 and the Hook and Ladder Company No.1, purchased 14 acres of land from Pocahontas Higgins through his guardian, David B. Williams. Together, these two entities paid $80 per acre for a total of $1,160. The tract of land was named Fireman's Park, a name it still holds today. It was deeded to the Brenham Fire Department in 1884 and eventually deeded to the City in 1917.
Gussie Field Watterworth Park, Farmers Branch, established in 1954
Gussie Field Watterworth Park was formally dedicated to the citizens of Farmers Branch on September 26, 1992 and received the Category II - Brag Night Award in 1993 from the Southwest Park & Recreation Training Institute. Other notable awards in 2008 and 2009 were the TRAPS Innovations in Parks and Facility Development, the Lone Star Programming Award for the cemetery walking tours - Encounters from the Past, and Innovations in Park Development for the National EarthKind Rose Trial Garden.
The City of Farmers Branch officially incorporated in 1946, but the roots of its existence go back much further. Pioneers settled there in 1842, searching for a better life. Gussie Field Watterworth Park, better known as "Gussie" and sometimes referred to as the people's park, was the first City park in Farmers Branch. The original Warranty Deed, dated 1954, states that the 3.85 acres is to be used as a public park. Additional property was later obtained through donations and purchases from the 1950s to 1980s. The open space had been utilized as public space by folks long before the City's formal acquisition.
Davis Mountains State Park/Indian Lodge, Fort Davis -TPWD, 1933
The state's most extensive mountain range provides the setting for one of the most majestic of Texas' parks, Davis Mountains State Park, begun in June 1933. A five-mile scenic road was carved in switchbacks to the top of Sleeping Lion Mountain. From this ridge, there are breathtaking panoramas including a view of the 19th-century military installation of Fort Davis that lent the town its name.
The Park currently offers 27 full hook-up RV sites, 34 water and electric sites, 33 tent sites and 12 primitive camping sites. Twenty five miles of trail are available, some designated for mountain biking and equestrian use in addition to hiking. The park also has historic facilities that include an overtook sheller, warehouse, water tower and park residence. Habitats at Davis Mountains State Park are especially well-known as a destination for wildlife viewing and observation, with javelina, mule deer, gray fox, Montezuma Quail, Common Black-Hawk and a diversity of other birds as the primary draw. The park is also highly ranked as a destination for scientists and science educators. Universities from all over Texas use the park for field trips and investigations that emphasize natural history research.
Lindheimer Plaza, New Braunfels, established in 1845Lindheimer Plaza appears as a small "island" in the 500 block of Comal Street in New Braunfels. Busy city streets surround the park's .28 acres and hundreds of people pass it each day. The Plaza is located in a residential area, just 1/10 mile from the Ferdinand Lindheimer Haus and within walking distance of New Braunfels's Historic Main Street District. Although it is a small park, Lindheimer Plaza is rich in history and cultural charm.
In 1845, Ferdinand J. Lindheimer, "Father of Texas Botany", was given a parcel of land on the Comal River by the Adelsverein. Lindheimer had met the first group of German emigrants at the Texas coast in 1844 and served as a guide for their journey to New Braunfels. Prince Carl, Commissioner-General of the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas, more commonly known as the Adelsverein, awarded Lindheimer the property for his services to the early settlers. Prince Carl also encouraged Lindheimer to establish a botanical garden in the new German community. Before 1850, however, the Adelsverein sought to extend Comal Street and, to do this, needed to traverse Lindheimer's Botanical Garden. Lindheimer granted permission for the street's extension and received two additional town lots in exchange. By 1852, Lindheimer had built a Fachwerk home overlooking the banks of the Comal River. He lived there until he died in 1879, just a short distance from the park land that would bear his name.
Bergfeld Park, Tyler, established in 1913
The City of Tyler just celebrated the 1OOth year anniversary of Bergfeld Park and what better time to reflect on the rich history and impact on Tyler that Bergfeld Park has had. In 1909, Rudolph Bergfeld understood the value of public spaces and donated 8.4 acres of land to the City of Tyler for a park. However, the city did not developed the site within the time stipulations and the land reverted back to Mr. Bergfeld. Soon after, the City of Tyler realized the missed opportunity and in 1913, the city purchased the same 8.4 acres from Bergfeld. By 1928, no developments had been made to the park, so the Tyler Kiwanis Club organized a local production at the local Fair Park Auditorium and nearly 12,000 people attended.
The money earned from this production was used for Beautification Projects within the park. In 1931, the City of Tyler officially named the park Bergfeld Park in honor of Rudolph Bergfeld. One year later, Julius A. Bergfeld donated a play area with six swings, two see-saws, a slide, a bar trapeze and a ring trapeze; the parks first playground equipment. Throughout the years, Bergfeld Park has continued to grow into the outstanding park it is today.
Getzendaner Memorial Park, Waxahachie, 1889
During the late 1800s Waxahachie experienced intense growth and wealth due to its cotton agriculture and cotton industry. The vibrant economy contributed to a construction boom that resulted in the rapid development of businesses in the downtown as well as the building of a magnificent ornate 3-story Romanesque courthouse. Housing demands led to the creation of large neighborhoods filled with vernacular and popu1ar house types.As existing neighborhoods were filled, new sections were opened for development.
In 1889, the Waxahachie Investment Company planned to develop more than 250 acres of land just west of the City of Waxahachie. The platting of the West End Addition included a tree-shaded, 23-acre park, bordered on its southern edge by Waxahachie Creek, which they called West End Park. To encourage growth to this new addition, a mule-drawn streetcar line was extended to the area. A pavilion was built in the park along with various other amenities such as tennis courts, swings, electricity and an artesian water well. Residents came out to the new park to enjoy a respite from the City in this place of beauty. The community continues to enjoy the park's beauty today.
Emancipation Park, Houston, 1918
Emancipation Park located at 3018 Dowling Street was donated to the City in 1916 and for more than twenty years was the only public park open to African Americans. Located near downtown, Emancipation Park stands in honor of Houstonians who took their history and the course of the future into their own hands.
The end of the Civil War resulted in dramatic reorganization of society throughout the former Confederacy, including the freedom for the slaves. President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation and published it on January 1, 1863, but it did not reach Texas for two years. It wasn't until General Granger proclaimed it in Galveston on June 19, 1865 that Texas got the news. The anniversary of the day took on festive traditions and a new name: Juneteenth. Over the next few years, African American populations across Texas collected money to buy property dedicated to Juneteenth celebrations. In Houston, the effort was led by the Reverend Jack Yates, Richard Allen, Richard Brock and Reverend Elias Dibble. In 1872, they pooled $1,000 to purchase ten acres of open land as home for their Juneteenth celebration and named it Emancipation Park.