This report has been contributed by Jaclyn Ramkissoon, a student from Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.
A popular venue for Second Sunday concerts or family picnics, Washington Park has an interesting landscape and design.
We were “just curious” how it came to be that way.
Mayor J.H.R. Washington’s home sat on the current site of Washington Memorial Library.
According to Muriel Jackson, head of genealogy and archives at the library, he always envisioned a park across the street. That was in 1851.
Four decades later, the property was officially named Washington Park. Before, it was informally known as the “Wesleyan Slide.”
“They dug out dirt for building and construction projects and so forth. I guess just because it was available and it was vacant,” Jackson said. This created the park’s bowl shape.
Washington Park through the years
By 1915, they had put up a side railing but there were still no trees or plants, Jackson said.
“Today, as you know, when you’re coming right on the corner there, you’ve got the new sign put up by College Hill, and you’ve also got a gigantic magnolia tree,” Jackson said.
After Wesleyan moved locations, students would still visit and take pictures well into the 1920s.
“I know even today a lot of people will take prom pictures and wedding pictures in the park because when it’s in bloom, it’s very beautiful,” Jackson said.
In the 1930s, the Works Project Administration took over and created most of what Washington Park now, according to Jackson.
“It’s been an evolution to what it is today,” Jackson said. “I think Mayor Washington would be very happy the way the property has turned out as an asset to the citizens of Macon.”