Henry Timrod Park - Florence, SC
History of the Henry Timrod Park
In the 1920s, Henry Timrod Park was developed and completed. In March 1924, The General Assembly created a Park Commission for the city. The members were Chairman B.S. Meeks, Dr. N.W. Hicks, J.C. Long, D.W. Alderman, F.L. Willcox, Mrs. E.E. Howell, and F.E. Wright. Legal problems which had delayed the development for several years were finally resolved. In March 1925, the board was authorized to buy and mortgage property for park purposes. The next month J.L. Barringer, for one dollar and "other valuable considerations", conveyed twenty acres on Gully Branch to the commission. (Rise Up So Early, A History of Florence County South Carolina, G. Wayne King p. 323)
The principal promoter of the Park was Janes D. Evans, a Florence attorney, and to him was left all the details of preparing the deeds and having them executed and recorded (Minutes of Council, 1913-1915, page 54).
At the request of the Park Commissioners and by the authority of the City Council, the firm of P.J. Berckmans Company, Landscape Gardeners, of Augusta, Georgia, prepared plans for the development of the Park, which development was estimated to cost $20,000. The question of beginning development in accordance with these plans came before the City Council at its regular meeting on November 16, 1916, and it was decided to await the outcome of a proposed bond election to finance the project before proceeding with the work (Minutes of Council, 1915-1917, page 193).
In 1926, the park was developed and beautified in accordance with the plan made by Berckmans. B.S. Meeks, Chairman of the Park Commission, was very active in much development. D.D. McCarthy was elected Superintendent of the Park, and devoted much time and attention to it. Being a practical horticulturalist, his work was outstanding.
History of the park's name
Henry Timrod, the South Carolina poet, taught school at one time on the Cannon Place Plantation, on the Old Marion highway. The Park was named for him, no doubt because the schoolhouse in which he taught was moved to City Park in 1938 and renaming it, Henry Timrod Park. It is located in the northeastern section of Timrod Park, near Timrod Park Drive.
History as a nature park
Alex Brunson stated in an article from the Florence Morning News in 1952, "the history of Timrod Park, from it's beginnings as a swamp with wild violets growing along the banks of Gully Branch". Mrs. Brunson also described the multitude of azaleas, camellias, iris and hydrangea varieties of magnolia and numerous rare plants from all over the country which now grow there.
A 1948, Florence Morning News Article states, "nearly all the plants in the park were raised either by cutting in the park nursery." It also stated that landscape maps for Henry Timrod Park were made in 1920. In 1948, the park contained about 5,000 azalea plants and approximately 500 hydrangea bushes. Certain rare trees growing in the park included: several camphor trees; two tung-oil trees, several species of rare magnolias including a collection of oriental and native magnolia types and several paw-paw trees. Also tea family and camellia family and a fine collection of various types of hollies including- youpon and oriental types.
There was also collection of double white and rose altheas also growing in Timrod Park.
Henry Timrod Park - Today
Henry Timrod Park is 18 acres at 400 Timrod Park Drive. It has 14 lighted tennis courts, a playground, picnic areas, a picnic shelter, a gazebo, a fitness area, an amphitheater and nature trails.
The latest happenings...
Timrod Park Rain Garden Project
Volunteers will gather at Timrod Park this week to build an innovative bioretention cell, better known as a "rain garden". It will be located just behind the play ground area. The new rain garden is being created under the direction of Terasa Young, Natural Resource Agent - Carolina Clear Clemson Extension.
Rain gardens are a terrific home project, because they are a beautiful landscape feature that catch and filter polluted runoff from rooftops, driveways and other hard surfaces. Rain gardens also help reduce flooding on your property and create habitat for birds and butterflies. Rain gardens are very affordable options for homeowners compared with traditional pipe and drain systems, and require minimal time or skill to maintain each year.
The Timrod Park bioretention project will consist of .25 acres of swale and rain garden/bioretention treatment area which will be planted with native vegetation. River rock will be used to provide aesthetics as well as stabilize inlets and outlets to the larger depression areas. We are thrilled this area of Timrod Park was selected for this project. Not only will it help protect water quality, it will add an aesthetically pleasing feature to the park.