The Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association announced Friday that they will be hosting the First Annual Historic Lincoln Park Reunion at the site of the historic park on Saturday, Aug. 31, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Lincoln Park, the city's first and only park dedicated solely to the African-American community, was founded in 1918. Its amenities included an Olympic-size swimming pool, the first lighted softball fields for African-Americans in the South, a Ferris wheel, and “Mary the Bear and a family of monkeys.”
Lincoln Park figured into the history of African-American baseball and featured the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Old Negro League Baseball team from the 1940s and '50s. Baseball legend Willie Mays played his first professional game at Lincoln Park, and the park hosted other greats from the Old Negro League such as Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, and many other players that paved away from African-Americans in national sports.
Family entertainment was also part of the historic Lincoln Park. African-American business pioneers such as Big Ben operated the Ferris wheel, Ira Hall Sr. was the park photographer, and concession stands were operated by family enterprises.
This first reunion will begin a community-led process to bring revitalize Lincoln Park, create jobs for the community, and to keep the community as an historical area for Chattanooga's African-American community, officials said.
Any individuals and businesses interested in participating may contact Tiffany Rankins, secretary of the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association, at 266-2567 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The event is free and open to the public.