Houston Area Parks

Sam Houston Park was the first official public park established for the city of Houston in 1899 and, thanks to George H. Hermann’s donation of 285 acres of land, Hermann Park was created several years later in 1914. Today, these well-known parks are joined by Memorial Park, Discovery Green, and numerous other parks both large and small located throughout the city of Houston, neighborhoods, and surrounding areas. Many philanthropists and supporters continue to advocate for the preservation of open space in Houston. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Hermann Park and commemorative events will include an exhibition at the Julia Ideson Building.

Explore digital archival material from the Houston Area Digital Archives including postcards, photographs, and oral histories that illustrate the history of Houston area parks.

Featured Images:


Oral Histories:

“Protection of what open space we have which is dwindling at all times and trying to get more and keep out massive highways that are going to run straight across Texas and
through all open space that we’ve got.
And just room for the critters. The critters can’t vote..”
Terry Hershey

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Terry Hershey’s interest in the environment contributed to make her an advocate for the conservation of nature. Her venture into the parks and recreation field, fighting against destroying vegetation, led her to raise her voice in various environmental boards. She also established a family foundation
committed to environmental causes.



“It is exciting. To have a school and a park named for me,
it is a tremendous honor”
Eleanor Tinsley

Eleanor Tinsley talks about her years as president of the board of the Houston Independent School District and being a city council member. She was involved in the school integration movement and was instrumental in the creation of the Houston Community College.



“There are so many kids…, [and] they used to sit and watch trains go by and they became fascinated with them. … There was just something about a train. It meant that you didn’t have to stay where you were at, you could get up and move.”
John Glaze

John “Big John” Glaze, the locomotive engineer for the miniature railroad at Hermann Park, shares his experiences driving, maintaining, and repairing the locomotives for the miniature train and talks about his role entertaining children and adults in this capacity since 1969.



“I like to see people benefit from some of the good things of life [even] if they are not able to have all these luxuries of people who have money…The spirit of that kind of life is…
love your neighbor as yourself.”
Marvin Taylor

Marvin Taylor, a long time resident of Houston, talks about his involvement in the establishment of a jogging trail and improvements to Hermann Park, Houston.


Additional Resources:

Panoramic view of an event at Sam Houston Park, circa 1983