Overton Park is a large, 342 acre (138 ha) public park in Midtown Memphis , Tennessee. The park grounds include the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the Memphis Zoo, the 9-hole golf course, the Memphis College of Art, the Rainbow Pool, the Veterans Plaza, the Greensward, and other attractions. The Old Forest Arboretum of Overton Park, one of the few remaining old growing forests in Tennessee, is a natural arboretum with numbered trees along the trails.
Overton Park is a location where Memphians interact with one another, with one another, and with the natural world. Thanks to the love of their group, Overton Park Conservancy works every day to make this possible.
The property, once known locally as Lea’s Woods, was purchased by Memphis on 14 November 1901 for $110,000; it was situated along the eastern and northern border of the city at the time. Overton Park was planned by landscape architect George Kessler as part of a comprehensive plan that also included Riverside Park (later M.L. King Riverside Park) and the Memphis Parkway System. Planning began in 1901, and Overton Park was founded in 1906. The park was named in honor of John Overton, co-founder of Memphis. Overton ‘s name was selected in the competition for the name of a new park operated by the local newspaper Evening Scimitar; the three electors were the founding fathers of Memphis, Andrew Jackson, Overton, and James Winchester.
Overton Park was the subject of controversy in the 1960s and 1970s, when 26 of its 342 acres (138 ha) were planned to be demolished by highway developers to construct Interstate 40 through the park to make it easier for suburban commuters to get to the city centre. A small number of Midtown residents formed a coalition known as Citizens to Save Overton Park and challenged the proposal in court. Ultimately, in the landmark case People to Retain Overton Park v. Volpe, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in their favour.
Nevertheless, the City of Memphis and the Department of Transportation of Tennessee proceeded to suggest a variety of alternatives for the path of Interstate 40 through Overton Park, including the construction of a highway in a tunnel or a deep trench. In 1978, People to Save Overton Park successfully nominated the Park to the National Register of Historic Places, thus ensuring that it was not approved by the United States. Department of the Interior, Government funds should not be used for projects that have impaired the park ‘s cultural reputation. The Memphis Commercial Appeal referred to the National Register as the “final nail in the coffin” of attempts to move Interstate 40 through Overton Park.
Starting in June 1974, the road system within Overton Park was eventually closed to motor vehicles on weekends and holidays, the so-called “People’s Days.” While some objections were initially raised, the new policy became more common and the closures were made permanent on 13 April 1987, except for official vehicles.
When the white Hein Park group walled off access to Overton Park from West Drive, Black neighbors across Jackson Avenue were sued under the Civil Rights Act of 1866. In 1981, the USA was narrowly split. The Supreme Court ruled that the barrier was lawful, while dissident Justice Thurgood Marshall cautioned that “a group of white people had agreed to act to prevent Black people from moving through their urban ‘utopia’ and that the city had put its seal of approval on the scheme.”
Overton Park was chosen to be part of the 2009 Landslide Program funded by the Cultural Landscape Foundation. This “Spotlights Great Places” initiative is developed by seminal and regionally prominent landscape personalities who are threatened with change.
By a vote of 6 December 2011 by the Memphis City Council, Overton Park Conservancy, a non-profit organization, assumed the management of 184 acres (74 ha) of Overton Park. The 10-year deal includes the East Picnic Area, Greensward, Formal Gardens, Old Forest State Natural Area and Veteran Plaza. The Levitt Shell, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the Memphis College of Art, the Memphis Zoo and the Overton Park Golf Course are maintained separately.
This dog park in beautiful Memphis, Tennessee, along with these other dog parks you and your furbaby shouldn’t miss:
- Shelby Farms Dog Park
- Bartlett Dog Park
- Overton Bark
- Mud Island Dog Park
- The Barking Lot Dog Park
- Sea Isle Dog Park
- Forgey Dog Park
- Snowden Dog Park
- Central Bark
These amazing dog parks are located just down the street from our location at Summer Avenue between Estridge Drive and Eastern Drive. Stop by for a visit anytime!