Woolridge Square honored with Lone Star Legacy Park designation

Austin Parks and Recreation announced in a press release Thursday that on March 10, Austin’s Wooldridge Square was one of eight Texas parks honored with designation as a Lone Star Legacy Park by the Texas Recreation and Parks Society in a ceremony at the association’s annual institute in the town of Frisco. 

A Lone Star Legacy Park is a park that holds special prominence in the local community and the state of Texas. 

Austin Parks and Recreation said to qualify for consideration, the park must have endured the test of time and become iconic to those who have visited, played, and rested on its grounds. Nominated parks must be a minimum of 50 years old and meet criteria related to historic, architectural, and natural significance. 

When Judge Edwin Waller plotted the City of Austin in 1839, he designated four public squares in each quadrant of the city. Only three of the original squares remain and Wooldridge Square, in the northwest quadrant of downtown, is relatively unchanged and retains a high degree of historic integrity.

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The park was neglected for decades until 1909 when Mayor A.P. Wooldridge launched improvement efforts fueled by a wave of civic pride. The park became known as an area where politicians and great orators were able to connect with the public, and where rallies were held supporting women’s suffrage.

Wooldridge Square’s significance reaches beyond Austin and is closely tied to significant statewide and national events. In 1948, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who would later serve as the 36th U.S. President, launched his U.S. senatorial campaign at a rally at Wooldridge Square. 

"As a 40-year resident of Downtown Austin and career as a preservationist, I have felt most privileged the last several years to chair, Friends of Wooldridge Square. Wooldridge Square is possibly the most important civic space and cultural landscape in our great city," said Charles Peveto, chair of Friends of Wooldridge Square (FOWS).

In 2012 FOWS says it supported efforts to restore the park’s landscape and the historic 1910 bandstand, which was designed by Austin architect Charles H. Page. 

Other Texas Parks recognized in 2021 include:

  • Yettie T. Polk Park, Belton
  • Washington Park, Brownsville
  • Hulen Park, Cleburne 
  • Dow Park, Deer Park 
  • Quakertown Park, Denton
  • Log Cabin Village, Fort Worth 
  • City Lake Park, Mesquite 

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Other Austin parks that previously received the Lone Star Legacy designation include:

  • Parque Zaragoza Neighborhood Park 
  • Pease District Park 
  • Zilker Metropolitan Park 
  • Rosewood Neighborhood Park
  • Eastwoods Neighborhood Park.