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Source Collection

William Nowland Van Powell papers, Special Collections Department, University of Memphis Libraries




Panoramic view of Forrest Park in Memphis, Tennessee, looking west with Union Avenue to the left. The Clover Farm Dairy building can be seen on Union. The statue of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877) was installed in 1905 and thus the photograph is probably from around that date. The photographer was probably J.C. Coovert. Forrest Park, now known as Health Sciences Park, is a rectangular city green space situated on approximately eight and a half acres in the Medical Center area of Memphis. While the park space was designated by the city as “Bedford Forrest Park” in 1899 on the former site of a city hospital, it did not reach its full development until 1904-1905, when the Memphis Park Commission completed the park to designs prepared by George E. Kessler, the Commission’s landscape architect from 1901 to 1914. The park was designed by Kessler to center on a large bronze equestrian statue of Forrest designed by sculptor Charles H. Niehaus. Kessler’s original plan for Forrest Park created a space that took advantage of the mature trees and some other plantings that remained on the site from its years as a hospital grounds. The park was designed with perimeter sidewalks, and an internal set of curvilinear walkways that separate the park user from the sidewalk and surrounding street. A small lily pond was also featured in the southwestern quadrant of the park. With the exception of the view from Union Avenue into the park and to the Forrest statue, Kessler’s planting design limited many other views of buildings or street traffic outside of the park. The arrangement of walks and plantings created a series of small open spaces around the perimeter of the park where seating and some beds of ornamental plantings were located. The center of the park was left more open with large expanses of lawn. The northern half of the park contained many of its mature trees at the time of its original dedication. Cast iron, post-top light fixtures were placed around the Some of these beds were planted with some of Kessler’s favorite plant materials for the Memphis parks, including palmettos, banana plants, cannas, elephant ears, and cast iron (aspidistra) plants. Others were planted with a number of flower varieties. For further historic information on the park see National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Forrest Park Historic District (

Date Created



circa 1905


Urban parks--Tennessee--Memphis--Photographs.