Robert Church Park

Memphis, Tennessee

Robert Church Park, established on Beale Street in 1899, is one of the nation's early parks developed by and for African Americans. It served as a political and entertainment venue, hosting such dignitaries as Theodore Roosevelt, Booker T. Washington, and W.C. Handy. The 7.5-acre site was compromised by neglect and urban renewal. Ritchie Smith Associates redesigned the park to accommodate passive recreation and to celebrate the history of the park and the legacy of its founder, Robert Church, Sr. The redesign includes lawn areas defined by prominent land forms and groves of trees, an activity plaza opposite the Beale Street Historic District, and a gateway structure and colonnade reminiscent of the historic park entrance.

Awards: Merit Award, American Society of Landscape Architects, Tennessee Chapter Certificate of Merit, Tennessee Historical Commission