Olmsted Parks Conservancy Announces Largest Financial Gift in Organization’s History 

Learn More

Chickasaw Park Earns National Recognition from The Cultural Landscape Foundation Landslide® 2021 Race and Space

New Digital Exhibition and Report about Nationally Significant Cultural Landscapes Associated with African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Peoples that are Threatened and At-Risk

Louisville’s Chickasaw Park has been included in Landslide 2021: Race and Space, an annual thematic report on threatened and at-risk landscapes in the United States released by The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s (TCLF). Landslide 2021: Race and Space focused on thirteen relatively unknown, but nationally significant cultural landscapes associated with African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native peoples. These sites have common characteristics that assist in understanding their respective histories, referred to as “throughlines.” The report explores the characteristics of spatial nostalgia, erasure, amplifying community voices and redefining integrity.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation recognized Chickasaw Park for inclusion in the Landslide 2021: Race and Space. The largest park specifically designed for the Black community of Louisville in the era of segregation, Chickasaw Park is also the only park in the country designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm during the period of park segregation for use by African-Americans. A part of Louisville’s historic park system begun by Frederick Law Olmsted and completed by his son John Charles Olmsted, Chickasaw Park has a deep and rich history of fostering community and producing strong athletes, including Muhammad Ali, who trained at the park in his youth. The park now faces issues of deferred maintenance and a threat of erosion due to its proximity to the Ohio River.

“Landslide 2021 broadens our understanding of our nation’s complex history by raising the visibility of its overlooked cultural landscapes,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, TCLF’s president and CEO.

Chickasaw Park has been recognized by the Cultural Landscape Foundation for inclusion in the Landslide 2021: Race and Space.
The largest park specifically designed for the Black community of Louisville in the era of segregation, Chickasaw Park is also the only park designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm during the period of park segregation. A part of Louisville’s historic park system begun by Frederick Law Olmsted, and completed by his son John Charles, Chickasaw Park has a deep and rich history of fostering community and producing strong athletes, including Muhammad Ali, who trained at the park in his youth.

Landslide 2021: Race and Space interview with Edward “Nardie” White, River City Drum Core Founder.

Chickasaw Park
Community gatherings in Chickasaw Park.

“To get to Chickasaw Park, we had to go through segregated communities, and that meant we had to arrive and leave by a certain time. In Chickasaw, all the safe-guard messages such as ‘can’t, don’t, be careful and watch who you say things to’ disappeared. Once we got to Chickasaw, oh boy, we were in Black heaven,” said Edward “Nardie” White, Founder of River City Drum Corps.

Layla George, president and CEO of Olmsted Parks Conservancy said, “We all love Chickasaw Park for the sweeping river views, the beautiful walking path, the pond, and the iconic clay tennis courts. To have it recognized at a national level for its historic and cultural significance is deeply meaningful. We hope this attention can help us raise additional funds to help with ongoing maintenance and capital investment. Chickasaw Park sorely needs it, and its users deserve it.”

This honor highlights the need for preservation for Chickasaw Park, and Olmsted Parks Conservancy is raising funds to restore the landmark’s historic lodge. These improvements are part of the Parks For All campaign, which focuses on sustainability, equity and accessibility for our local Olmsted-designed parks.

Chickasaw Park river view, historical landmark plaque and members of the West Louisville Tennis Club.

About Landslide
First issued in 2003, Landslide has highlighted more than 300 significant at-risk parks, gardens, horticultural features, working landscapes, and other places that collectively embody our shared landscape heritage. Recently, Landslide 2018: Grounds for Democracy focused on sites associated with labor, civil and human rights, Landslide 2019: Living in Nature highlighted sites affected by human-induced climate change, and Landslide 2020: Women Take the Lead, timed to the centennial of women’s right to vote, focuses on sites across the country designed by women. Landslide designations have resulted in advocacy that has saved numerous sites. Moreover, once a site is enrolled in the Landslide program, it is monitored by TCLF.

About The Cultural Landscape Foundation
The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) is a Washington, D.C. based education and advocacy non-profit established in 1998 with a mission of “connecting people to places.” The organization educates and engages the public to make our landscape heritage more visible, identify its value, and empower its stewards. TCLF is also home to the Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize.

Fred Facts
Parks build healthy communities by creating stable neighborhoods and strengthening community development.

JOIN THE CONSERVANCY

Become a member today
Join Today

BECOME A VOLUNTEER

View volunteer opportunities
Get Involved

MARK A LIFE OR OCCASION

Make a tribute gift
Donate