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 Emancipation Park. Join us as we take a trip through Houston, park by park.
Located in the heart of Third Ward on the eponymous street, the historic Emancipation Park offers visitors a wide array of amenities to enjoy from the comfort of indoor facilities to the sun-soaked outdoors.
Bought in 1872 by Richard Allen, Richard Brock, Jack Yates, and Elias Dibble to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States, this public green space is not only the oldest park in Houston, but it is also the oldest park in Texas.
Today, now managed and maintained by the Emancipation Park Conservancy, the international landmark has received more than $33.6 million worth of renovations to modernize the park with features including Community, Cultural, Recreation, and Aquatic Centers; basketball and tennis courts; a baseball field; a theater; reconfigured parking options; an entry plaza; a sprayground; playground; walking trail; picnic areas and more.
Officially reopened to the public with the new improvements in June of 2017, the park stands as a monument to the pride and hope that the founding members of the Emancipation Park Association felt as they stood with their backs to slavery and their faces turned to the future.