Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Watkins Park

Marker ID: NHC 123
Location: on Jo Johnston Avenue near 16th Avenue N, Nashville, TN
County: Davidson
Coordinates: N 36° 9.711    W 086° 47.938
  36.16185    -86.79896666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


Land once known as Watkins Grove was given to the city in 1870 by brick maker and contractor Samuel Watkins. It served as a site for political gatherings, school commencements and concerts. This became Nashville's first public park in 1901. Park Board chairman E. C. Lewis planned landscape features including a stone entrance and fence, walkways, flowerbeds, and benches, which were built with materials donated by citizens. In 1906, the Centennial Club opened the city's first playground here, setting a precedent for public recreation facilities elsewhere in the city. Improved by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Watkins Park was a park for black Nashvillians from 1936 until the 1960s, when the park system was desegregated.

Erected 2005 by The Historical Commission of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County.