FANNIE ROBINSON PARK
Fannie Robinson Park and swimming pool were dedicated in June, 1955. According to the Taylor Daily Press article June 15, 1955, the park was named after Fannie Robinson for three reasons: 1) she was a person to bring dignity to the name of the park; 2) she owned a part of the land where the park was built and 3) she was the oldest Negro citizen in Taylor at the time of the dedication.
Fannie House was born in Milam County May 17, 1865 just at the close of the War Between the States. Having lost both parents at an early age she was raised by an uncle and at the age of 14 she moved to Rice’s Crossing where she met her future husband John Robinson. Married at the age of 16 she and her husband moved to Taylor and raised thirteen children.
Dr. James Dickey and Dr. Edmond Doak played an important part in getting the new park for Taylor. It was a dream they envisioned to help beautify the area after the city dump was closed. As Chairman of the Board of the Negro Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Dickey negotiated with the City and School District to purchase property for a park for the Negro children. According to minutes from the City records, in January, 1940 at the urging of Dr. Dickey, City officials purchased just over 6 acres of property from William Harrison and the Knights of Pythias Eminent Lodge 28 for $1500.00. A memorial marker to honor Dr. Dickey was installed in the park on Dolan Street as a reminder of his determination to make Taylor a better community for all citizens.
The O. L. Price Marching Band and the O. L. Price Panther football teams practiced in what was called “The Hole” where baseball games also took place. Later the Community Center was moved from the O. L. Price School site to Robinson Park. The basketball court was once a lighted tennis court made possible by a joint effort of IBM, the Texas Power and Light Company, the Neighborhood Center and the City. The Garden Club planted trees to add to the natural beauty of the parkland.
With $5000 and an economic development
project in 1986 the baseball field from O. L. Price School was relocated to the
Park and was also lighted.
More recently, in 1999 the City was awarded a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife to extend the hike and bike trail from Murphy to Robinson Park completing the loop from Bull Branch. Just four years later with a grant from the Texas Office of Rural and Community Affairs to develop a Comprehensive Plan for the City, Council approved additional funds o develop a Comprehensive Parks Plan and hired the firm of Hall Bargainer to create a Park’s Site Plan. They worked closely with the Parks and Recreation Board to develop a plan based on community input that would meet the current and future needs of the community at many levels. In the spring of 2005 public meetings were held at the Community Center and the Jerusalem Pentecostal Church on East Pecan to get citizen input on what the community would like their park to look like.
While the plans were still being developed, the Council purchased lighting for the baseball fields to allow more use.
In May, 2005, Council approved a Master Plan for all the parks, including Robinson. Once the plans were complete work began on installing new restrooms, a playscape, basketball court, lights at the ball fields, and swing sets. In 2007 additional land near the railroad tracks was purchased from Williamson County Grain and more recently shade structures have been installed at the swimming pool. All totaled, more than $555,000 has been invested in Fannie Robinson Park since 2000 to help make Dr. Dickey and Ms. Robinson’s dreams come true.
(*Information gathered from City records, Taylor Daily Press, and personal accounts.)