Houston, Texas, U.S.
|Area||1,466 acres (5.9 km2)|
|Created||1924, 99 years ago|
|Operated by||Memorial Park Conservancy|
Memorial Park, a municipal park in Houston, Texas, is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Opened 99 years ago in 1924, the park covers approximately 1,466 acres (5.9 km2) mostly inside the 610 Loop, across from the neighborhood of Memorial. Memorial Drive runs through the park, heading east to downtown Houston and west to the 610 Loop. A small portion of land west of the 610 Loop bordered by Woodway Drive and Buffalo Bayou is also part of the park. I-10/U.S. 90 borders the park to the north. The park was originally designed by landscape architects Hare & Hare of Kansas City, Missouri. In 2016, the operation of the park was transitioned from the Houston Parks and Recreation Department to the Memorial Park Conservancy, a private non-profit organization with a mission to "restore, preserve and enhance Memorial Park."
From 1917 to 1923, the land where the park currently exists was the site of Camp Logan, a U.S. Army training camp named after Illinois U.S. Senator and Civil War General John A. Logan. During World War I, the training camp was located on the far west boundaries of Houston. After the war in early 1924, Will and Mike Hogg, purchased 1,503 acres (6.1 km2) of former Camp Logan land and sold the area to the city at cost. In May 1924, the City of Houston took ownership of the land to be used as a "memorial" park, dedicated to the memory of soldiers who lost their lives in the war. The park is adjacent to the Camp Logan, Crestwood, and Rice Military neighborhoods.
On April 25, 2018, philanthropists Rich and Nancy Kinder through their foundation, the Kinder Foundation, pledged $70 million to the Memorial Park Conservancy to accelerate redevelopment and restoration work.
The park includes the 18-hole Memorial Park Golf Course, Texas's top-rated municipal golf course. Formerly the site of a nine-hole course launched in 1912, it was completely redesigned by John Bredemus and opened 87 years ago in 1936. The course rating is 75.0 with a slope rating of 130 from its back tees. Memorial Park hosted the Houston Open on the PGA Tour fourteen times (1947, 1951–63), and was renovated in 1995 at the cost of $7 million. The course will host the tournament again in the 2021 season (October 2020). The ashes of tour professional Dave Marr (1933–1997) were spread over the course, as it was where the winner of the 1965 PGA Championship learned to play the game.
The park also has facilities for tennis, softball, swimming, track, croquet, volleyball, skating, cycling, and a running course (2.93 miles (4.72 km)). Very popular with Houston joggers, the running course is the Seymour Lieberman Exercise Trail, a crushed granite pathway that sees almost 3 million visits annually. There has been a shrinkage in the number of trees as a result of droughts and hurricanes.
On the south side of Memorial Drive, there are miles of multi-use trails through the woods, a 'picnic' loop which is used heavily by road cyclists, softball fields, sand volleyball courts and a field for playing rugby or soccer. The softball fields are the home venue for the Texas Southern Tigers softball team.
- "Memorial Park Fact Sheet" (PDF). Memorial Park Conservancy. p. 2. Retrieved 2022-12-03.
- "About the Conservancy". Memorial Park Conservancy. Retrieved 2022-12-03.
- "Camp Logan Historical Marker". The Historical Marker Database. 16 June 2016. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
- "Memorial Park". Houston Parks and Recreation Department. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
- "Kinders pledge $70 million to fast-track Memorial Park restoration". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
- "Course Rating and Slope Database™ - Memorial Park Golf Course". USGA. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- Towle, Mike, "Ultimate Golf Trivia Book", Thomas Nelson Inc, 1999.
- - Memorial Examiner
- Justice, Richard. "Tiger takes first step back." Houston Chronicle. February 19, 2010. Retrieved on March 31, 2010. "Local golfers at the Becks Prime at the Memorial Park Golf Course watch Tiger Woods' press conference."
- "Memorial Park." Becks Prime. Retrieved on March 31, 2010.