405 York Street Lynchburg, VA 24502
Jefferson Park is home to the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Center that serves as the hub for much of the activity in the park. The park includes a playground, athletic fields, two tennis courts, horseshoe pits and a basketball court for active recreation. An open field for play comprises the largest level space to the right of the neighborhood center. The picnic shelter and grills accommodate up to 80 people; ideal for a family reunion or neighborhood gathering.
Jefferson Park is named after Thomas Randolph Jefferson (1863–1940), the son of slaves and a prominent African-American from Lynchburg. He lived on the property in a log cabin and donated it to the City so the black community could have a park of their own. According to a 1938 newspaper account he “shook hands with presidents, served banquets to generals and spent much of his life in the presence of notables.” According to the Jefferson family, Lynchburg City Council renamed the park in his honor in the late 1930’s. Jefferson later lived with his wife Minnie and two adopted children at 56 Polk Street. He died in 1940 and was buried in White Rock Cemetery.
Jefferson Park Pool, the only pool for African Americans, was closed along with all the public pools in Lynchburg in 1961. None of the pools would ever open again. However, Jefferson Park’s fate was even more deplorable as the park was turned into a landfill and the pool filled with construction and other debris. The landfill was closed in the late 1960s.
Jefferson Park Community Center was constructed using local and federal dollars in 1976. The first basketball court and playground had to be removed when it was placed too close to the old landfill. The City is currently performing an environmental assessment of the property and will fund mitigation efforts. A master planning process to determine future use is slated to begin in the next year or so.
- Athletic fields
- Jefferson park trail
- Tennis courts
- Horseshoe pits
- Basketball court
- Picnic shelter
The earthen/gravel Jefferson Park Trail is approximately 1/4 mile long, and can be accessed from the large parking lot. The trail provides access to the Blackwater Creek Natural Area and the Creekside Trail. At the Creekside Trail, visitors can go either east (right) towards the Blackwater Creek Bikeway (1/2 mile) and Point of Honor Trail section, or west (left) towards the Ruskin Freer Natural Area (1.5 miles) and Blackwater Creek Athletic Area (approximately 2 miles).