Lee Memorial Park

Historical Significance

The Petersburg Garden Club's work to conserve Lee Memorial Park in the city of Petersburg, Virginia, began years ago when a herbarium and watercolor collection was discovered, which both highlighted and preserved not only a unique and fragile ecosystem in an urban environment, but as importantly allowed the preservation of a national historical and cultural resource.

The park encompasses a 300-acre park, which was created during the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Women's and Professional Division. The cultural and historical significance of Lee Memorial Park is not just in its creation, but also in that black and white women worked together on the project.  In December 1935, crews comprised of unemployed African American women began the laborious task of clearing the ravines bordering Willcox Lake for a wildflower preserve. Working in groups with white female supervisors, the women planted more than 365,00 plants, including 8,000 trees and 37,000 shrubs and more than one million honeysuckle roots to prevent erosion. 

Physical Description

The Lee Memorial Park Historic District encompasses approximately 300 acres located along the southern edge of Petersburg, Virginia. It is bordered generally on the north by Interstate 85; on the west by Baylor's Lane and Defense Road; on the south by Norfolk & Southern Railroad tracks; and on the east by Johnson Road, Defense Road, and a line along the east bank of Willcox Branch north of the Willcox Lake dam.

Geographical and Contact Information

15 West Bank Street
Petersburg, Virginia
23803
Phone: 804-733-2427

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Lee Memorial Park,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed November 22, 2017, http://www.aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/244.

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