Friends of  Washington Park 


Park History

       One of the focal points of the Washington Park historic neighborhood is the recreational park. The Parks Department of Atlanta designated Washington Park as the first recreational park for African Americans in 1919, a time of segregation. The land for the park was donated by the early 20th century African American developer Heman Perry. Prior to the construction of Washington Park, there were no recreational parks in Atlanta available to African Americans. The park started with a gift of six and a half acres and expanded to 25 acres when completed in 1928. It originally included a swimming pool, dancehall, pavilions, and tennis courts. This historic park has been referenced in the writings of many notable Atlantans over the years as a social center for swimming, tennis, dancing, and gathering. Today, Washington Park is home to one of only 5 city of Atlanta natatoriums and a state-of-the-art tennis center. Washington Park is bordered by the proposed Beltline, which has prompted development in the surrounding Washington Park Neighborhood.

Sources: National Park Service, "Growing Up King" by Dexter Scott King, "Living Atlanta" by E. Bernard West and Harlon