As Brays Bayou winds its way through southern Houston, it goes through some of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s most extensive green spaces, with Hermann Park, MacGregor Park, the Gus Wortham Golf Course, and the Brays Bayou hike and bike trail along its route, to mention a few.
Located near its confluence with Buffalo Bayou is Mason Park, home to 104 acres of bayou-bank recreational opportunities and tree-filled leisure space, as well as a brand-new project aimed at flood control and pollution reduction.
Located at South 75th and Tipps Streets, on Houston’s east side, Mason Park owes its existence to suburban expansion in the 1920’s and a woman’s decision to honor her husband with a park in his memory in 1930. The City of Houston acquired 31.75 acres in 1928 and named it Pineview Manor Park after a nearby housing development. Soon after, Mrs. Dora Porter Mason donated another 69.88 acres in memory of her husband, John T. Mason, and the two parks were combined and named in his honor. An additional 3.92 acres were bought from the Texas National Guard Armory in 1997.
Ongoing improvements through the years have resulted in a gem of a park with many ways for people to spend leisure time outdoors. Mason Park boasts baseball/softball fields and a recent renovation resulted in new soccer fields, thanks to the administration of Houston Mayor Bill White. There are six lighted tennis courts and playground equipment meeting Americans With Disabilities guidelines. A swimming pool invites neighbors to cool off during Houston’s endless hot months, and those out for a stroll or a bike ride under the trees will enjoy the 1.4-mile long trail, which includes a ten-station exercise circuit. And flex those flinging muscles! A nine-hole disc golf course is available at Mason Park.
The community center is the highlight of Mason Park. Built in the Spanish Mission style, it offers after-school and summer session activities for kids and classes and social events for adults. The gym and recreation center were upgraded during a 1986 renovation, and the weight room and tennis center were improved in a community center renovation in 1995. The center also features a stage, clubroom, and kitchen and restroom facilities.
In 1996, the East Lawndale Civic Association decided to see who would salute the idea of adding a flagpole to the park. It was installed and dedicated in February of that year, and the Harrisburg Heritage Society donated and maintains the American flag that flies there.