26 Montrose Voice / June 18, 1982
The many mini-parks of Montrose
Photostory by Ed Martinez
One of the things that makes a city livable
In Paris, where land is astronomically
expensive, every time a piece of land
becomes available, there is a widespread
and heated debate as to do what to do with
it. Almost invariably, the end result is
another park, in spite ofthe loss to the city
in economic value, taxes, and so forth.
This is one of the reasons Paris is the
world's most beautiful city. They simply
feel that the quality of life is more important than its financial value.
In Houston, in contrast, real estate
developers and financiers seize every strategic open space and throw up huge office
buildings, apartment complexes and
shopping centers. This is understandable,
since Houston, a city in its adolescence,
has a lot of open space to waste, with
plenty of space left to be devoted to future
Still, people need greenery, they need
trees not jealously guarded by security
personnel for the exclusive use of tenants.
People need free and readily available
grassy knolls to tie on. to stare up at the
sky on, for children to frolic in.
In short, people need parks.
Not only that, they need not only big
parks, like Hermann and Memorial Parks,
which must be driven to frequently from
long distances, they need parks located in
neighborhoods all over the city.
These small parks, sometimes called
pocket parks, abound in the inner city, giving Montrose much of its charm and
sophistication. In no other section of
Houston, a city slavishly bound hand and
foot by the automobile and limited to
enjoyment of places accessible by automobile, are so many open spaces there for the
asking, and often in easy walking distance. This is one ofthe most inviting features of the mini-parks of Montrose, that
they are accessible on foot.
Bell Park, for instance, at the corner of
Montrose and Banks, offers a block-long
park with a stream wandering through
trees and lawns. Benches for seating are
available, and the whole is located less
than a mile from both the Museum of Fine
Arts and Westheimer Road. Fronting on
heavily travelled Montrose Boulevard,
Bell Park offers sanctuary and a quiet
place for contemplation and rest.
Cherryhurst Park, a square block on
Cherryhurst two blocks from Westheimer,
provides recreation and sports facilities
for nearby residents. With swings, slides,
basketball court and tennis courts, Cherryhurst Park is a natural gathering place
for people in Montrose who take their exercising seriously. Children can play, pets
can be safely ignored and the pressure of
life in Houston can be momentarily
Rothko Chapel Park, at the corner of Sul
Children playing in Cherryhurst Park
Ross and Mulberry, offers residents on the
south side of Westheimer a place of repose
and serenity. Located next to the
renowned Rothko Chapel and the reflecting pool with its obelisk sculpture, Rothko
Chapel Park offers manicured lawns and
Biking in Bell Park
trees that make sculpture against a
Here one can just be, with no great need
to do anything. A neat, well-tended open
piece of greenery offers welcome change to
eyes saturated with man made structures
that arc springing up everywhere in a city
that Beams obsessed with new buildings.
There are many other parks like these,
all adding up to integral pieces in a
tapesty that is Montrose, Houston's most
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