Elizabeth Baldwin Park in Houston Is Incredible!

Updated on March 5, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Stunning Trees in Elizabeth Baldwin Park
Stunning Trees in Elizabeth Baldwin Park | Source

My Discovery of Elizabeth Baldwin Park

One of the earliest parks in Houston, dating back to the turn of the last century, is named Elizabeth Baldwin Park. One day while surfing the net, I discovered that this park was the location of one of the oldest fountains in Houston, which was what first made my husband and me wish to explore there.

The information about the "Charlotte M. Allen Fountain" neglected to mention that it is no longer in working condition. Remnants of it are there, but they are overshadowed by what else the park has to offer. The incredible trees would send any tree lover into ecstasy!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Majestic old oak trees make Baldwin Park special.Charlotte M. Allen Fountain
Majestic old oak trees make Baldwin Park special.
Majestic old oak trees make Baldwin Park special. | Source
Charlotte M. Allen Fountain
Charlotte M. Allen Fountain | Source
Source

Amazing Trees in Elizabeth Baldwin Park!

At more than 100 years old, these trees have weathered many a storm, but they stand in testament to their resilience and hardiness. Some of the branches grow horizontally, stretching out and intermingling with the nearby tree branches. They form a canopy of thick, dense shade in some areas of the park.

Other branches have served to bolster the trees against hurricanes and other storms. They run along the ground around the trunks of the trees, supporting them like an impenetrable fortress surrounding a city and keeping it from harm.

As a child, I was quite the tree climber. I can well imagine that many of these branches have borne generations of like-minded tree climbers over the years.

Picnics in the park
Picnics in the park | Source

Amenities

The 4.88-acre park has a quarter-mile crushed-granite walking and jogging trail.

Doggie-bag dispensers with trash cans are on site for those walking their dogs. In addition to the children's playground, there are parallel bars and other exercise equipment for adults.

Grills, picnic tables, and benches provide plenty of usable spaces for people to congregate. We saw people quietly reading books and working on their laptops in this beautiful park setting.

Playground equipment in this park
Playground equipment in this park | Source

Origins of This Park

The history of the park is fascinating. Mrs. Elizabeth Baldwin Rice became the widow of the brother of William Marsh Rice. She then married William Marsh Rice, who was a widower.

According to historical records, Elizabeth changed her will in Texas, unknown to him. In it, she claimed Texas as their primary residence. Most of the year, however, they lived in New York. Texas is a community property state, meaning that half of William Rice's wealth would be hers to spend as she desired if he preceded her in death.

Due to poor health, Elizabeth died before William. A lawsuit ensued. A greedy New York lawyer who thought he could get his hands on the family's tremendous wealth had Mr. Rice killed. After the heinous murder became known, the will of Elizabeth went into effect.

Most of William Marsh Rice's wealth was left intact, which is what ultimately helped to fund Rice Institute, which later became Rice University here in Houston. Part of her estate went to purchase the land, which now bears her name.

Her executor paid $9,250 for the land on May 9, 1905, according to records, and in 1910 it was sold to the City of Houston for $10. She would have liked that!

In 1912, the fountain was finished and was named after the wife of Augustus C. Allen, one of the two Allen brothers who founded Houston.

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Vietnamese Heritage Plaza in Elizabeth Baldwin ParkTile work under Vietnamese Pavilion
Vietnamese Heritage Plaza in Elizabeth Baldwin Park
Vietnamese Heritage Plaza in Elizabeth Baldwin Park | Source
Tile work under Vietnamese Pavilion
Tile work under Vietnamese Pavilion | Source

Vietnamese Heritage Plaza

The Vietnamese community in Houston donated $100,000 to create the Vietnamese Heritage Plaza in Baldwin Park. It was a part of a larger renovation project for the park, which took place in 2006.

The tile work under the plaza is pretty, and all around the pavilion carved into concrete are friendly greetings in various languages. One of them reads as follows: "Hundred thousand welcomes and good health to all."

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People admiring graffiti murals across from Baldwin ParkColorful graffiti mural across from Baldwin ParkA portion of a mural across from the parkDetail of mural across from Baldwin ParkGraffiti art mural across the street from Baldwin ParkMural across from Elizabeth Baldwin Park
People admiring graffiti murals across from Baldwin Park
People admiring graffiti murals across from Baldwin Park | Source
Colorful graffiti mural across from Baldwin Park
Colorful graffiti mural across from Baldwin Park | Source
A portion of a mural across from the park
A portion of a mural across from the park | Source
Detail of mural across from Baldwin Park
Detail of mural across from Baldwin Park | Source
Graffiti art mural across the street from Baldwin Park
Graffiti art mural across the street from Baldwin Park | Source
Mural across from Elizabeth Baldwin Park
Mural across from Elizabeth Baldwin Park | Source

Graffiti Art Across From the Park

There is an auto-parts store at 3000 Crawford Street in Houston, where graffiti art is on display. The day we were there, we saw several people using the murals as a backdrop for photographs.

A well-known (now deceased) graffiti artist by the name of Nekst was one of the muralists who did work there.

Whether one is a fan of graffiti art or not, it is hard to ignore such colorful portrayals and unique designs on what otherwise would be a rather drab-looking brick building. It certainly livens up the area!

Living Near and Enjoying Elizabeth Baldwin Park

On another side of Baldwin Park is a small parking lot in front of townhouses that face the park. What a lovely view the residents of those modern townhouses have to look out at every day.

From the dedication of Baldwin Park in 1912 (the same year that Rice Institute doors opened for the first time) to today, this park has served countless generations of people.

At one time in the past, it had become a haven for drug dealers. But with the transformation that is taking place in Midtown and nearby areas of Houston, this park is an absolute jewel!

My hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed the portion of the day we spent there, and what I would give to have a park-like that in our backyard!

The feeling of walking under those long-lived oak trees is indescribable. To me, it is akin to feelings of being in a cathedral, but even better. Mother Nature presents all her splendor and glory in this Houston city park!

Location of this lovely park: 1701 Elgin Street, Houston, Texas 77004.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Peggy Woods

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      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        2 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Niks,

        So glad to have been able to share this information with you. Enjoy!

      • profile image

        Niks 

        2 weeks ago

        I liked this hub very much. I m a fan of trees and murals. I would love to visit this park someday. I will definitely click some pictures with the graffiti background.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Greetings Venkatachari,

        That banyan tree of which you wrote must be magnificent to view in person! I have seen some large ones in Florida and Hawaii, but probably not as large as the one you mentioned.

        As to these 100-year-old oak trees in Baldwin Park, they are beautiful to see in person. Happy to be able to share them with you.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Linda,

        Until doing some research about this park and its namesake, that is how I learned about the funding for what is now the Rice University. History is so interesting!

      • Venkatachari M profile image

        Venkatachari M 

        3 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

        A nice article describing the history and the beauty of this park. I am very happy to know about it. It resembled a park in my childhood city of Chennai. The park was famous for the Gautam Buddha's Banyan tree under which he got enlightened. It is a tourist spot in a spacious land full of trees, many of them sprouted from the branches of that thousand-year-old tree.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

        This sounds like a lovely park. I always enjoy looking at trees. The story of the origin of the park is chilling but very interesting. I didn't know the history of Rice University before I read your article.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Ruby,

        I agree that the oak trees are amazing!

        As to marrying brothers, that actually happened to my paternal grandmother. My dad was a young child when his father died. My grandmother remained a widow until her children were grown and gone.

        My dad's uncle (brother to his father) was also a widower and raised his kids until they were grown and on their own. They both lived in the small town of Okauchee, Wisconsin. They married and spent many happy years together. My grandmother's last name never changed, for obvious reasons. So from my perspective, it is not all that unusual.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        3 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

        The old oak trees are amazing, I have never seen anything like them! The history is interesting. I guess it was normal for Mrs. Rice to marry brothers back in the day, not so much today, or maybe it's ok today. I can't imagine it. lol

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Thelma,

        It would be so much fun to be able to walk together in this park. At least, via the Internet, you have some idea of its appearance. Thanks for your comment.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 

        3 weeks ago from Germany and Philippines

        This is a beautiful park. Those trees are awesome. How I wish this park is nearby so I can visit. Thanks for sharing Peggy.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Mary,

        I agree! We have many established and large oak trees in our neighborhood, but few that look like the ones in that park. The people living in those adjacent townhouses have a lovely view and place to stroll just outside of their doors.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        3 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        Like you, I would love to have that park as my backyard. I love the old trees.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Manatita,

        We have numerous murals and also graffiti walls in the Houston area. They can brighten up an area nicely. In some cases, they are painted on abandoned buildings and last until the buildings are torn down and replaced with something new. Some owners of those buildings have paid muralists to paint those empty buildings. I'll be showing you some in the days ahead.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Bill,

        We do have more parks than the majority of cities. Yes, they are wonderful! I'll be showing you many more in the days to come.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        3 weeks ago from london

        Haha.

        I'm not an expert. My friend has showing me what to do. The Chicago walls were quite dirty, so we had to do a bit of scraping and cleaning as well.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi FlourishAnyway,

        As to fixing the fountain, I seriously doubt that will happen now, but the remnants are still interesting to view. The origins of Rice University, and how it came to be, makes for some interesting reading.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hello Manatita,

        So you have also helped to create murals! You have certainly led an interesting life! Yes, the Vietnamese Heritage Plaza is a very nice feature in Elizabeth Baldwin Park.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Chitrangada,

        So happy to be able to share this lovely park with you via the Internet. Yes, if those trees could talk, they would have many stories to tell!

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Lorna,

        This is a gem of a park to walk through and enjoy in various ways. Those branches that reach the ground have saved the trees from being toppled during hurricanes and other strong winds through the years.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        There sure are a lot of parks in Houston. I think that is very, very cool!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        3 weeks ago from USA

        That’s a wonderful park with the trees and walkways and those murals nearby. What a fun place to relax. They should fix the fountain. I wasn’t aware of how Rice University was started. Greedy lawyers.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        3 weeks ago from london

        One of my black American friends is a muralist. We did some great work in Chicago together. We went to the 2nd Parliament of World Religions, which my Guru was invited to open, 1993 and Santaru William Stevens and I, helped in making the city look really nice for the hundreds of world faiths and devotees, that were to descend upon it.

        This lawyer was a bad man and committed a heinous crime. I believe, according to the last dream I had from St. Peter, only one made it to heaven (Joke)

        Good that all worked out well. The Park and murals are very beautiful, and I rather like the hands of the Vietnamese in support.

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 

        3 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

        The Elizabeth Baldwin Park looks amazingly beautiful.

        I loved the ancient and the huge trees. I have a fascination for the old trees. They appear graceful, and just imagine, how much they must have seen.

        Your pictures and the video, gives us a clear idea, of how wonderful the experience would be, for the visitors.

        The graffiti art is also wonderful.

        Thanks for sharing this part of the World with the readers.

      • Lorna Lamon profile image

        Lorna Lamon 

        3 weeks ago

        I love oak trees and as a child you couldn't keep me out of them. A beautiful park Peggy with so much to do. There is something so special about old trees and how relaxing it must be to walk through this park. An enjoyable read.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Pamela,

        I loved climbing trees when I was young. Fun memories! Those magnificent old oak trees make this park exceptional. Glad you enjoyed the graffiti across from it as well.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

        This certainly looks like another unique park in Houston and the historical aspects make it quite interesting. I also climbed trees a lot when I was a child, another thing we share. I like the graffeti art as well.

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