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Shelandra Y. Ford
Historical Markers of Shelby County

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Overton Park

The 342 acre Lea Woods was bought in 1901 as the first project of Memphis Park Commission on advice of Olmsted Brothers, noted landscape architects. By popular vote it was named for Judge John Overton, a city founder. Naturalistic landscaping was by George Kessler, landscape architect. Soon added were the zoo, 1905; the first city golf course, 1911; Brooks Art Gallery, 1916. The park with its unique 175 acres of climax oak-hickory urban forest was preserved as a unit by the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision, 1971. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior, 1979.