From the late 1800's, through the 1920's, during a time of Jim Crow segregation, Douglass and McGar Parks served as recreational grounds for African Americans in Fort Worth. In 1895 Thomas Mason, an African-American entrepreneur, with J.D. Johnson and A. Sumlin, purchased land in the Trinity River Bottoms. The property soon became known as Douglass Park (about 300 yards south), named for abolitionist Frederick Douglass. That same year, the park hosted a Juneteenth Celebration; this became an annual event that thousands attended. The city commissioned a special officer to patrol Douglass Park. Many noted black churches used the property, as did the Prince Hall Masons, who built a lodge on it. In 1918, Fort Worth's Park Board purchased Douglass Park; despite an attempt to revitalize the park, it fell into disrepair and in 1925, the Texas Electric Service Company purchased the property and oficially closed it.
Douglass Park led directly to the creation of another African-American park. Crowds who gathered at Douglass Park to watch Negro baseball teams play became so large that the games moved to the Texas & Pacific Ballpark, which sat on a railroad right of way across) North Main Street. The ballpark was upgraded between 1907 and 1909 and changed names to McGar Park (McGar's Field), after businessman Hiram McGar. Both black and
white fans came to watch McGar's Wonders (later the Black Panthers) play. Industrial development, the 1922 flood and other factors led up to the demise of the Park during the 1920's. Today, no remnant remains of the Parks, though they continue to be remembered as vital community institutions for Fort Worth African American Americans in the early 20th Century.Marker is Property of the State of Texas