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Monday, February 19, 2007

E.R. and Ann Taylor Park

Introduction: ER and Ann Taylor Park is a 26 acre park located at 1850 Reed Road, just south of Reliant Center. It is known by birders for its many species of birds migrating through the park. It has several bird blinds including raised ones. The park also has several of the largest oak trees I've ever seen. They are settled in the midst of forest trees and bogs.

Location:Located at 1850 Reed Road, near the intersection of Reed and Almeda. From downtown, take 288 south, exit Reed Road, turn west (right). It is located next door to a rodeo parking lot and backs up against Almeda. Maps to location: Click Here

There is a good trail map posted at the park. Here is an online copy but very difficult to read: http://www.houstontx.gov/parks/images/Parks/wpe9.gif

Hours:Could not find the hours posted, but there is a gate at the entrance. Since the park is unattended and there are no lights on the paths, I assume it is only open during the day.

Scoring: Walking = 3.5 Nature = 4
Walking: There is an uneven concrete path with some stretches of wooden boardwalks throughout the park. Good signage with mileage indicated for each part. Maybe because it is winter, parts of the path were obstructed with downed trees and overgrown bushes or weeds. I could get around them easily by going off the path. No bathrooms, water or lights. Most of walk was shady.

Nature: Lots of birds. There are bird blinds and bat boxes throughout. Several huge oaks. There is a large pond and several bogs (which may be seasonal). While I didn't see any, there are rabbits, raccoons, armadillos and foxes in the park. The back side borders busy Almeda Road which made it quite noisy.

Background: This park land was donated to the City of Houston by descendants of ER and Ann Taylor. Edward Ruthven Taylor was ill with tuberculosis after the Civil War. He was nursed back to health by his father's former slave, Ann George. They fell in love, but were unable to marry due to social and legal norms at the time. The two moved to this property which was named Myrtle after the fragrant myrtle trees on the property. They raised six children who were among the first African-Americans to graduate from college in Texas. Oil was discovered on the land and in 1921 oil was being produced from wells there.

Coolest Thing About Park:The history of the park which includes a cemetery within.

Trails:The trail is 1.08 miles long and winds through forest and bogs and beside a pond. The trails are well defined and about 4 feet wide made of concrete and sometimes boardwalks over the more boggy areas. There is excellent signage with milage indicated. There also is a two story viewing stand near the pond. Bird blinds are throughout the park. At this writing, the trails were somewhat overgrown in places. Without this, it would make a great park for small children to walk as the trails are well defined and not too long.

Other things you'll want to know:

1. No water, bathroom facilities or lights in the park.
2. It is somewhat isolated. I was there on a Monday morning and was the only person in the park. Be sure to carry cell phone and water and ID whenever walking. My guess is weekends and summer would be more populated.
3. Nice picnic pavilion at the entrance with roof, several picnic tables.
4. Take binoculars for the bird watching.

Feel free to add any comments you think would be useful to others about this blog.

Photography by Mary Anne Fields.
All blog content is copyrighted, all rights reserved, Mary Anne Fields and Life Unfolds, 2006


At Mon Mar 03, 03:23:00 AM CST, Blogger ilostmyjob said...

Is the cemetery visible/visitable? I just discovered this park the other day and didn't have time to explore.

At Thu Mar 13, 07:09:00 PM CDT, Blogger lifeunfolds.com said...

The cemetery is very small, only a couple of graves, I'm assuming, of the founders/previous owners. It has a small fence around it.


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