E.R. Ann Taylor Park
Address: 1850 Reed Road
Houston, TX 77051
Phone: H.P.A.R.D. Permits Office: 832.394.8805
H.P.A.R.D. Information: 832.395.7000
Houston Service Helpline:|
To request park repairs please call 311 or 713.837.0311 or submit your request online by clicking this link.
E.R. and Ann Taylor Park is a 26-acre forest oasis in southern Houston. Standing at the entrance to the park, at 1850 Reed Road, one has a clear view of the skylines of downtown and the Texas Medical Center. The bustling environment of Almeda Road begins at the next intersection. But inside the gates, a tranquil world of birdcalls, grapevines and ancient oak trees awaits.
The park was donated to the City of Houston by descendants of E.R. and Ann Taylor as a living memorial to the couple, who settled on the property in 1870. The two met when Edward Ruthven Taylor came home from the Civil War ill with tuberculosis. Ann George, his father's former slave, cured him. The two fell in love, but marriage between a white man and a former slave woman was both socially unacceptable and illegal. The two moved far out of town and established a farm that E.R. named Myrtle, for the fragrant myrtle trees on the property.
E.R. and Ann prospered and raised 6 children, who were among the first African-Americans in Texas to receive a college education. E.R. discovered oil on the property and by 1921 the first producing well was drilled. Houston history was made when drilling there led to the innovative rotary drill bit, designed by the Hughes Tool Company to pierce rock.
Over the years, the city has grown up around the E.R. and Ann Taylor Estate. In 1986, the family donated the original homestead property for parkland. Today, E.R. and Ann Taylor Park is a wildlife habitat in the midst of urban development adding immeasurably to the quality of life for residents of the city. Its natural environment provides a home for plants and animals and a place of beauty where city dwellers can experience unspoiled nature.
E.R. and Ann Taylor Park is preserving local history, honoring those who eased the way for our lives today.
A 1.08-mile nature trail takes hikers through the woods. Scattered within the forest are bird watching blinds, designed so that viewers can observe wildlife without scaring it off, boardwalks to keep visitors out of the occasional puddle, and an elegant, 2-story tall viewing stand looking out on the wilderness pond ecosystem and the surrounding forest.
Since its completion, E.R. and Ann Taylor Park has become a pilgrimage destination for bird watchers. In 2003, it was chosen as a project site for the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds. Dozens of species fly through the Houston area regularly on their seasonal migrations, and they rely on well-preserved sections of ecosystems like this one for stopovers.
Bird watchers can see migrating ducks, hummingbirds, songbirds and birds of prey. While hawks, red-winged blackbirds, egrets, herons, cardinals, and doves are among the birds that can be found here year-round.
Hikers with a keen eye for wildlife might also see rabbits, raccoons, armadillos, opossums, and, yes, little foxes. Many varieties of butterflies flit among seasonal wildflowers. Remember to bring your mosquito repellant with you, since they are a part of the ecosystem, too.
Visitors can enjoy a picnic on tables under the pavilion at the trailhead before taking their tour of the forest habitat. Don't forget to read the historical marker, which gives hikers an overview of the history of the property and the Taylor Family, who made it prosper.
E.R. and Ann Taylor Park was made possible through a partnership of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, the E.R. and Ann Taylor family, Houston Endowment Inc., Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Houston Parks Board and the Texas Historic Commission.
In 2006, Beverly and Major Stevenson, received a Good Brick Award from the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance for a 17-year effort that led to the successful creation of the E.R. and Ann Taylor nature park.
ALSO IN AREA
Nearby, the E.R. and Ann Taylor Estate continues to be home to multiple generations of Taylor descendants. A portion of the estate operating as the Taylor-Stevenson Ranch offers an educational look at the contributions of women, African-Americans, Native-Americans and Hispanics to cowboy history and to ranching in America at the American Cowboy Museum.
Mollie Stevenson and her mother, also named Mollie Stevenson (now deceased), were the first living African-Americans inducted into Fort Worth's National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, partly in recognition of their establishment of the museum.
Tours of the Taylor-Stevenson Museum, 11822 Almeda Road, are available with advance reservations. Call 713.433.4441 for more information.
Approach to the area going south on Highway 288 gives visitors a view of Texas Pipe and Supply Company's Eclectic Menagerie Park. Positioned at the edge of their property, where it is most visible from the highway, this collection of animal, insect, and airplane sculptures surprises and delights the harried driver passing by.
While it is unlikely that park goers will find spiders and armadillos this large at E.R. and Ann Taylor Park, remember to watch out for all kinds of Texas Gulf Coast wildlife during your visit!