Park Spotlight: Elizabeth Baldwin Park

Photo courtesy of the Houston Parks Board

In our Park Spotlight series, we take a closer look at Houston’s vast array of public recreational areas to shine a light on hidden and not so hidden gems. This week we’ll be spotlighting Elizabeth Baldwin Park. Join us as we take a trip through Houston, park by park.

Located in the heart of Midtown on Elgin between Crawford and Chenevert Streets, the 4.88-acre Elizabeth Baldwin Park lays surrounded by an old neighborhood facing revitalization in the form of renovated houses, newly built townhouses, and businesses.

Acquired by the City of Houston in 1905, the park began as little more than a lawn for picnics in its early days, but at present features a stone fountain dedicated in 1912 to the wife of Houston’s founder, Charlotte Allen, a crushed granite jogging trail, century-old oak trees, picnic and chess tables, and a Vietnamese Heritage Plaza honoring the Vietnamese community of Midtown.

For nearby residents and passersby alike the serene, old park offers visitors a chance to unwind from the usually bustling area, providing picnic tables, grills, benches, a children’s playground, adult workout area, and doggie-bag dispensers for pet owners.

The Twisted History of Elizabeth Baldwin Park & Rice University

Though the park has been reborn as a monument to civic pride and the efforts of the area’s Twenty-first Century citizens, you’d never guess that it almost never was.

The park’s history echoes the story of a wife’s double-dealing, the contesting and forging of wills, her husband’s murder, and the founding of one of America’s premier institutions of higher learning, Rice University.

Click here to learn more about the park’s tangled history.

Photo courtesy of the Houston Parks Board

Elizabeth Baldwin Park

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Cody Swann is a writer and musician born and raised in Houston. When he isn't recording or touring the country with his band, Wild Moccasins, he can be found covering live music and arts events for 365 Things to Do in Houston.