Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Houston's Hermann Park: A Century of Community

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Houston's Hermann Park: A Century of Community

Article excerpt

Houston's Hermann Park: A Century of Community. By Barrie Scardino Bradley. Foreword by Stephen Fox. Afterword by Doreen Stoller. Sara and John Lindsey Series in the Arts and Humanities. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2014. Pp. xii, 247. $45.00, ISBN 978-1-62349-036-2.)

According to Barrie Scardino Bradley, the history of parks, like that of great cities and institutions, is "the story of individuals who had the exceptional foresight, political power, and social commitment to achieve their goals" (p. xi). And from this point of departure, Houston's Hermann Park: A Century of Community aims to identify all involved in the evolution of this urban park and to document their efforts. Commissioned to commemorate the park's centennial, this work is comprehensive, well written, and lavishly illustrated. It is a gift to Houstonians as well as to landscape historians, urban designers, and everyone interested in the evolution and stewardship of an iconic urban park in a major American city.

Houston's Board of Park Commissioners, established in 1910 to "advise on the development of a park system," included wealthy businessman George Henry Hermann (p. 13). His 1910 will bequeathed 285 acres to the city of Houston, and the property was transferred in 1914, months before his death. The following year, pioneer landscape architect and planner George E. Kessler (1862-1923) designed a plan for the park. By 1929 the park had expanded and included tree plantings, an outdoor theater, a zoo, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and a golf course, among other features. In 1930 landscape architecture firm Hare & Hare completed a master plan, and over the years numerous attractions were added, often piecemeal. As Houston grew, Hermann Park expanded and contracted in response to changing urban, economic, infrastructural, social, and political realities; it is now 445 acres. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.