Fountain Heights Park
|Fountain Heights Park|
|Birmingham City Parks|
|Location||1101 15th Avenue North, (map)|
Fountain Heights Park is a 14-acre L-shaped Birmingham city park bounded by 11th and 13th Street North, and by 13th and 15th Avenue North in the Fountain Heights neighborhood of Birmingham's Northside community. The park lies just east of I-65, and is anchored by the Fountain Heights Recreation Center and E. O. Jackson Swimming Pool. The former Martin School, constructed in 1901, was located inside the "L" of the park at 1325 12th Street North.
In their 1924 report on Birmingham's parks, the Olmsted Brothers recommended of Fountain Heights Park that, "Being mostly steep, wooded hillside, the park is ill adapted for the usual playground purposes and should be used for such only as the adjacent school actually requires. It should, in the main, be a neighborhood park with many walks laid out on easy grades, seats, possibly some swings and sand courts, and ornamental planting. Properly developed and adequately maintained, it could be a park of interest and value.". Specifically the firm recommended that the city endeavor to purchase the residential lots backing up to the west side of the park to provide a street frontage.
In the 1930s the Civil Works Administration constructed drainage ditches and placed drain pipes in steep areas, pruned trees, and regraded and dressed entire park. The park was formally open only to white residents, but the southern end, which backed up to a Black residential section, was used informally by Black children, sometimes forming interracial baseball games. In 1957 Willie Mae Horton petitioned the parks superintendent King Sparks Jr about dedicating a portion of the park for Black children. In response he suggested that the grounds of Tuggle School a few blocks to the west, could be improved to provide a separate baseball field.
In the early 1960s, a portion of the western end of the park was sold for right-of-way for I-65. Construction of a recreation center at the park was proposed in 1971. Bond funds amounting to $135,000 were approved for improvements to Fountain Heights Park in 2016.
- Olmsted Brothers (1925) A Park System for Birmingham. Birmingham: Birmingham Park and Recreation Board.