I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
One warm and sunny day last June, my husband and I decided to take a closer look at one of Houston's neighborhood parks. We had been passing by Fleming Park in our car for years. The large established oak trees with their magnificent outstretched branches are common in this particular locale. Many decades ago, the oak trees were planted and have grown into the beauties seen there today.
Southhampton was developed back in the 1920s by E.H. Fleming.
The Southhampton neighborhood is a beautiful part of Houston. Because of the proximity to the Texas Medical Center and downtown Houston, price tags of a million dollars or more for homes are not uncommon. Much larger homes now replace the small original bungalows originally there.
The civic association has done an excellent job maintaining the overall appearance and continuity of this beautiful neighborhood.
The establishment of Fleming Park in 1926 happened at the same approximate time the planning took place for the rest of the neighborhood. It was an incentive for the early home buyers to wish to reside there.
In addition to their home yards and gardens, this park would have provided an outdoor environment to relax and give their children a special place to play.
Kitschy Playground Equipment
Some of the playground equipment looked retro! Some vintage-looking animals mounted on heavy-duty springs anchored into the ground give sweet rocking rides to little ones.
I looked up vintage playground equipment on the Internet. I found similar looking pieces for sale at price tags ranging from $200 to $400 or even higher. We saw what looked like a vintage rocking duck, among others.
What caught our eyes were the kitschy-looking monkey bars with the cowboy faces at either end. They even sported play holsters where their guns would have been!
When I was growing up in the 1950s with my younger brothers, cowboy hats and toy guns were commonplace, especially for little boys. Many grown-up men, who have ranches or attend rodeos, plus other people (both men and women) who like the look, still wear cowboy hats.
These particular playground cowboy figures are cute and undoubtedly bring a smile to many people's faces. There was plenty of other playground equipment as well. Unlike the molded plastic playground equipment as commonly seen today, much of this is of wood construction.
Old slides have undoubtedly entertained toddlers for decades. Other items like little bridges for youngsters to cross, swing sets, and even some chain ladders upon which to climb are in this inviting park space.
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Picnic tables and benches that have undoubtedly served as the site of numerous gatherings throughout the decades were well represented. Whether one wishes to have a simple lunch or snack or use these built-in facilities to rest for a while in the shade of the numerous trees, the picnic tables and benches serve a useful purpose.
We were impressed as to how clean and well-maintained Fleming Park was. We did not see any garbage strewn about in the park. The people visiting this park must care about its cleanliness and appearance.
We saw what looked like a father or perhaps an older brother and son playing some basketball on the first day of our visit. They were having fun together as well as getting some exercise in Fleming Park using the facilities. The two public tennis courts were also in action on the day of our visit. How nice for people in the area to have these amenities so close to where they live!
Because people living in the neighborhood mostly use this park, there are no restroom facilities. So if you come from a distance, keep that in mind.
Totem Pole Birdhouse
One of the more unusual items found in this park, along with those vintage playground equipment items, was the appearance of a birdhouse constructed to look like a totem pole.
It stands fifteen feet high, and this "Bird Totem" was created in 1991 by an artist and professor whose name is Fletcher Mackey. Fletcher Mackey has a Master of Fine Arts degree, and this is just one of many of his public art pieces gracing Houston. There is a plaque affixed to the totem specifying that it was "Commissioned by the Friends of Fleming Park."
Construction of the totem pole birdhouse uses cypress and cedarwood plus ceramic, copper, and painted steel. It is an eye-catching beauty! Spotted were many birds on that hot day resting on the branches of those old oak trees. I wonder how many birds have called that totem birdhouse home through the years? I would venture a guess that it is many!
You can find Fleming Park at 1901 Sunset Blvd., Houston, Texas 77005.
Whether one lives nearby and can walk or have to drive from a location further away, this neighborhood park offers much in the way of amenities as well as sheer beauty. I am so glad that we took a closer look at it. It is a delightful green space that one can never have too many in a city the size of Houston.
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
— John Muir
- Wikipedia: Southhampton Neighborhood in Houston
- From Maryland Institute College of Art: Artist Fletcher Mackey
- Official Site: Friends of Fleming Park
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.
© 2021 Peggy Woods