In May of 1914 Houston real estate investor and industrialist George H. Hermann announced publicly his intention of deeding to the City of Houston 285 acres of this property for a municipal park across the street from the Rice Institute and thus Hermann Park was born. A century later, Hermann Park is 445-acres of beautiful green space and is visited by an estimated 6 million people per year. 

1910's

Gift to City of Houston
Original plan for the Park was completed by J. C. Maxcey, however, this plan was never completed.
It's official!
Houston real estate investor and industrialist George H. Hermann announces his intention of deeding to the City of Houston 285 acres of this property for a municipal park across the street from the Rice Institute
George H. Hermann passed away at the age of 71 in Baltimore, Maryland where he was being treated for stomach cancer.
Celebrated St. Louis landscape architect and planner George Kessler is appointed consulting landscape architect. His plans include the "grand basin", now McGovern Lake, and a landscaped elliptical island with a Sunken Garden, now the Mecom Fountain.

1920's

Miller Outdoor Theatre founded.
Hermann Park Golf Course designed by David M. Duller and George V. Rotan. First public golf course in America to welcome all races.
Hare and Hare Master Plan- included zoo, and golf course and incorporated vision of Kessler’s earlier plans for park entry and grand basin Zoo opens (with original Museum of Natural Science located within)
Portion of “grand basin” (lake) completed.
A monument depicting Sam Houston riding his horse Saracen is created by Enricio Cerracchio and cast in 1924. It was erected in Hermann Park atop a 35-foot-tall marble pedestal sculpted by artist Frank Teich (1856-1939).

1930's

Old Clubhouse designed by Alfred Nutter opened. (Designed in 1924)

1940's

Houston Garden Center
The Houston Garden Center was dedicated on January 27, 1942. Over the decades, many Houston-area garden clubs met at the center.
Zoo expansion, construction of Miller Hill, lease of 4.5 acres to the Museum of Natural Science outside the zoo’s boundary.

1950's

Miniature Train opened in the park.
“Grand basin” expanded and opened as 4-9-acre Hermann Park Lake.

1960's

Miller Outdoor Theatre
Construction of covered seating area completed.

1970's

A new Hermann Park master plan was developed throughout 1971 and 1972 by engineering firms, Lockwood, Andrews and Newman, and James Cummins, Inc., to guide future Park improvements. Due to a lack of funding, however, few of the ideas were implemented.
In 1978, a two-mile exercise trail around the golf course opened and included five exercise stations. Today, it is known as the Marvin Taylor Trail. The trail was renovated in 2011.
Chinese Pavilion installed
The ornate Friendship Pavilion was a gift to the City of Houston from its sister city, Taipei, in 1976. The pavilion was situated in Hermann Park in 1978 and was refurbished by the Houston Taipei Society in 1995.

1980's

Cravens Parkway, the strip of parkland between Main and Fannin Streets, was improved with funds donated by Margaret Cullinan Cravens.
George Hermann statue dedicated
Hermann Park’s benefactor was honored with a nine-foot, cast bronze statue created by sculptor, Lonnie Joe Edwards. The statue stands near the corner of Cambridge and Fannin Streets.
Bloch Plaza Sculpture
Cancer, there is Hope, a bronze sculpture dedicated to cancer survivors, was given to the City of Houston by Richard and Annette Bloch.
Pedal Boats
Pedal boats rentals began on McGovern Lake.

1990's

Friends of Hermann Park (FHP)
Organization established as a 501-C3 Neighbors of Hermann Park, collected donations to fund improvements.
Heart of the Park
National design competition March – November 1992 sponsored by FHP, the Rice Design Alliance, and the City of Houston to restore, enhance, and strengthen this essential part of Hermann Park.
Park Master Plan
Hired Laurie Olin to create master plan. Cooperative effort between City and FHP completed
Playground for All Children
Design for 7-acre super playground unveiled (project by Houston Parks Board).
Sam Houston Monument
Statue removed from pedestal to begin cleaning/repair process near the pedestal.
Friends of Hermann Park (FHP)
FHP has raised $15 million in private contributions for the $25 million upgrade of Hermann Park.
Furnishings
FHP developed park-wide furnishing standards.
Bayou Parkland
Out-parcel land purchase at the edge of Bayou Parkland completed (a gas station was being planned prior to purchase). Volunteers cleared urban forest of debris. Series of small ponds under construction.
Golf Course
Construction of new course layout began. Phase 2 (Old Clubhouse renovation) in design.
Reforestation
By Fall 1999, FHP had planted approximately 800 new trees.
Golf Course
Renovated golf course opens after 21-month-long closure. New clubhouse scheduled for completion in December 1999.

2000's

Bayou Parkland
Ribbon-cutting for completion of Phase I improvements. New trails and boardwalks, new multi-use pavilion, new perimeter parking lot adjacent to the pavilion. Design of the Outdoor Education Center underway.
Houston Zoo
The new Zoo West Entrance opened. The North MacGregor Street improvements were completed.
Natural Guard
Education/volunteer service established to help keep Hermann Park “blue, green, and clean.” In its first year, the program generated 438 volunteer hours.
Maintenance and Operations
FHP and HPARD kicked off a Maintenance and Operations Master Plan Study for Hermann Park, the first such comprehensive study ever for the park.
McGovern Lake
Opening day for the newly restored and expanded 7.9-acre lake.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocks lake with fingerling large-mouth bass, bluegill sunfish, and channel catfish. Forage minnows stocked earlier in the year.
Heart of the Park
Phase I construction completed, Molly Ann Smith Plaza opened. Phase II construction underway. Reflection Pool broke ground on July 19, 2001.
Trail Improvements
The Texas Department of Transportation awarded Hermann Park a $2 million reimbursement grant to improve the existing two-mile Herman Park exercise trail and improve and expand the existing carriage trail.
Natural Guard
Education/volunteer service generated nearly 1,000 volunteer hours.
Concessions
FHP entered into a park-wide concession agreement with the City of Houston to enhance quality and variety of food, beverage, and other service in all areas not currently served by existing institutions.
Maintenance and Operations
Completed “Safeguarding Our Legacy: A Plan to Manage Maintenance and Operations in Hermann Park.”
McGovern Lake
Catch and Release Fishing begins for children 12 and younger, and adults 65 and older.
Fannin Picnic Pavilion
Renovation completed.
Miniature Train
First of two train depots opened at the Buddy Carruth Playground for All Children.
Reflection Pool
Dedication of the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool. Shaded by allees of live oaks, the pool stretches 740 feet and culminates in a water cascade.
Completion of the parking lot at Sam Houston Monument Circle. Hidden from the street by berms thickly planted with irises and Indian hawthornes, the parking lot is filled with shade trees.
Reforestation
Reforestation projects which include the Rotary Picnic Grove, Rylander Grove and the trees funded by the Douglas B. Marshall Jr. Family Foundation.
Heart of the Park
Completion of the Heart of the Park Phase II including the O. Jack Mitchell Garden and the restoration of the Sam Houston Monument Circle.
Dedication of the Sara H. and John H. Lindsey Plaza. The new front door to the park is covered with terracotta colored pavers and boasts beautiful plantings of Texas perennials.
Kick off of the Lake Plaza re-design.
Beginning stages on the STEP Trail to improve the trails and connectivity in and around Hermann Park.
Greenway Project, a pedestrian path linking the eastern side of the park to the Heart of the Park, completed in October.
The Conservancy unveiled the $11 million transformation of Lake Plaza. Renovations included the construction of Kinder Station, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Bridge, a café, dining terrace, restrooms, gift shop, boathouse, and volunteer and maintenance building.

2010's

Bill Coats Bridge
The Bill Coats Bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists opened in Bayou Parkland . Spanning 290 feet, the contemporary bridge connects the banks of Brays Bayou and offers access to a 35-mile trail system.
Grand Gateway Groundbreaking
A groundbreaking ceremony marks the start of the $5 million Grand Gateway renovation. Improvements to the Park's historic main entrance include extensive landscaping around the Sam Houston Monument and Mecom Fountain.
McGovern Centennial Gardens Groundbreaking
A ceremony attended by Mayor Annise Parker kicks off the construction of the new $31 million McGovern Centennial Gardens and Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion.
Centennial Art Project - Art in the Park
A series of nine art installations were installed throughout the centennial year to highlight different areas of the Park. One installation is permanent, Trenton Doyle Hancock’s Destination Mound Town, in the Hermann Park Railroad tunnel. Plans to continue Art in the Park began in 2016.
Happy 100th Birthday Hermann Park!
A full year of celebrations was planned to commemorate this special milestone and highlight the Park’s centennial year.
McGovern Centennial Gardens Grand Opening
To culminate the centennial year, the Conservancy opened the McGovern Centennial Gardens to the public with a series of fun, family friendly events. The gardens boast over 8-acres of beautiful landscape and whimsical features. The McGovern Centennial Gardens are free and open to the public 363 days a year!
Historic Clubhouse Renovation
Planning began for a major restoration of the historic clubhouse building in Hermann Park. Curtis & Windham Architects were engaged as the lead architects for the restoration and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates later joined the team to oversee the design for the landscape around the building. Upon completion, the clubhouse will be renamed Lott Hall in Hermann Park.
Master Plan Update
The Conservancy engaged Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. (MVVA) to create an updated master plan to serve as a strategic plan for the next 20 years of Park improvements.
Dedication of the Grand Gateway Restoration
The restoration of the Park's historic entrance, the Grand Gateway, is unveiled during a special ceremony and tour for members and project donors.
Japanese Garden's 25th Anniversary Dedication
Celebration honoring the Japanese Garden’s 25th anniversary and the completion of a special large scale restoration project the coincided with the anniversary celebrations. This restoration included the addition of a new ceremonial entrance to the garden from the west side of the Park.
Master Plan Update Unveiled
After nearly two years of research, planning and design, the Conservancy alongside master planners Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. (MVVA), unveiled a strategic plan that will serve as a guide for improvements in Hermann Park over the next 20 years.