- 1926, 1996, 2008, 2021
- Clayton Korte (2021), Mell Lawrence Architects (2021)
- Harvey-Cleary Builders
- Ten Eyck Landscape Architects (2021)
- Historic Status:
- National Register of Historic Places, State Antiquities Landmark
Located in central Austin and paralleling Shoal Creek, the 84-acre Pease Park is one of Austin’s first public parks. The park includes an array of amenities including an interactive water feature, Treehouse Observation Pod, nature play area, basketball court, and a mixed-use lawn surrounded by trails. The southernmost portion of the park, named Kingsbury Commons, was awarded Gold under the Sustainable SITES initiative (SITES) rating system, making it the first park in the Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) portfolio to be SITES certified.
Celebrating a diverse ecology and historic fabric within the heart of Austin, Pease Park is an essential part of Austinities’ lives. From the home of Native American tribes dating 11,000 years ago, to campgrounds utilized during the Civil War in 1861, to the donation of land in 1875 by Governor Pease, to the most recent renovations at Kingsbury Commons, Pease Park is a unique plot of land that has thrived across various time periods.
Originally owned by former Texas Governor & Mrs. E.M. Pease (whose home still stands just west of the existing park), Pease Park was part of the 365-acre Woodlawn Plantation. The Pease family enjoyed carriage rides along the banks of Shoal Creek, a route that reminded Pease of his involvement in the Civil War and the troops that camped along the banks. At the time, the family would take trips to the East Coast to visit relatives, and became aware of the development of Central Park in New York City as well as the “City Beautiful” movement that was beginning to sweep the nation. Seeking an opportunity to provide their hometown with its own scenic parkland, the family donated 23 acres of their property to the city in 1875.
Sponsored by the local Kiwanis Club, improvements to the park first began in 1926 with the construction of a park bathroom, entrance gates, wading pool, and a dam across Shoal Creek. In 2008, a group of volunteers banded together to form Trees for Pease in an effort to protect existing trees from drought conditions by planting saplings to form an urban canopy and hiring certified arborists to prune conditions as necessary. This group gradually evolved into the Pease Park Conservancy, which to this day maintains and beautifies the park for current and future generations. One of the Conservancy’s most recent efforts involved a community-sourced interpretive plan for highlighting the park’s untold histories, including the Pease plantation’s decades-long use of enslaved Black people for labor.
Pease Park, although troubled in its history, has evolved into a space that aims to welcome all. One of Austin’s beloved traditions at Pease Park is Eeyore’s Birthday Party, which occurs annually on the last Saturday of April (decidedly close to 4/20). Started by a group of UT students and faculty in 1963 in celebration of the iconic Winnie the Pooh character, the celebration marks the beginning of spring. Other events throughout the year range from school field trips to family cookouts, birthday parties, and more. – Francisco Rosales
1-7: Casey Dunn; 8: Ashley Nava