Parks and Trails
In May of 1914 Houston real estate investor and industrialist George H. Hermann announced publicly his intention of deeding to the City of Houston 285 acres of this property for a municipal park across the street from the Rice Institute and thus Hermann Park was born. A century later, Hermann Park is 445-acres of beautiful green space and is visited by an estimated 6 million people per year.
The Houston Zoo is a 55-acre zoological park located within Hermann Park in Houston, Texas, United States. The Zoo houses over 6,000 animals as a part of over 900 species that the zoo has to offer, and receives 2.55 million visitors each year and is the second most visited zoo in the United States. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
The Houston Zoo's mission statement is "The Houston Zoo provides a fun, unique, and inspirational experience fostering appreciation, knowledge, and care for the natural world."
South MacGregor Park
MacGregor Park is a marvelous facility comprising 82.79 acres on the southeast side of the city. The beautiful MacGregor Way parkways that line Brays Bayou from Almeda Road to Calhoun Road were designed as access roads to the park, and the entire complex became part of the city through bequests from the Henry Frederick MacGregor estate.
MacGregor was a native of New Hampshire who came to Texas in 1873. After getting his bearings in Galveston, he moved to Houston a few years later and bought the Houston Street Railway, a public transit system dependent on donkey carts. He replaced it with electric streetcars, then sold the system and focused on his interest in developing and beautifying residential neighborhoods. MacGregor was responsible for extending the city southward, building some of the gracious neighborhoods that now make up Midtown Houston, the Museum District, and the area adjacent to Hermann Park. It was said that he was a firm believer in home ownership, extending credit beyond the accepted business practices of his day, at times lending money he never expected to get back in the interest of helping Houstonians escape foreclosure.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department announced a One Million Dollar Texas Parks and Wildlife matching grant for MacGregor Park Improvements. The funds will provide roadway improvements and baseball field lighting as well as playground, picnic, pavilion and landscaping upgrades for MacGregor Park.
Nearby is the Homer Ford Tennis Center, one of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s premiere tennis education centers. Thousands of students have honed their skills under the able direction of the staff, and the courts are in constant use.
The Levi Vincent Perry, Jr., Jogging Trail starts in MacGregor Park and runs up the bayou bank to Hermann Park. It is part of the trail system that continues upstream past the Medical Center to Gessner Street, for a total trip of 12.5 miles.
"Few people outside Houston knew of Parkwood Park before Beyoncé unveiled her new "athleisure" line, Ivy Park, last week. The clothing collection is named for the superstar's childhood park and for her daughter, Blue Ivy.
The video shows an image of the street signs at Del Rio and Parkwood, where the tiny park is located in the Riverside Terrace neighborhood. It is operated by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department." -Houston Chronicle
'I would wake up in the morning, and my dad would come knocking on my door and tell me it's time to go running,' Beyoncé says in the YouTube video for the Ivy Park collection.
The end of the Civil War resulted in a dramatic reorganization of society throughout the former Confederacy, including new 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: it came to be known as 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, a Baptist minister and former slave. Rev. Yates is remembered today through the high school with his name and his home, restored as part of the collection of historical buildings in Sam Houston Park. His church, Antioch Baptist, and Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church formed the Colored People’s Festival and Emancipation Park Association. In 1872, they pooled $800 to put down on ten acres of open land as home for their Juneteenth celebration. In honor of their freedom, they named it Emancipation Park.
Emancipation Park has undergone a $33 Million renovation and many great new homes have been developed. In recognition of the historical significance of Emancipation Park, the City’s celebration of the park’s redevelopment has been rescheduled to Juneteenth weekend 2017. The Emancipation Park Conservancy and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department will host a celebration of the park redevelopment with a ceremony and festivities on Sunday, June 18, 2017.