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  • Writer's pictureBrandi & Candace

Boyd Preston park

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

Richard Henry Boyd was born a slave in Mississippi in 1843. After the Civil War, he ended up going to college in Texas, and then became an ordained minister and the education director of the Texas Baptist Convention. He moved to Nashville to establish the National Baptist Publishing Board, and create The Nashville Globe, a local Black newspaper. He wrote more than ten books, and served on the boards of Fisk University of Meharry College, before he passed in 1937. He was good friends with Moses McKissack and Preston Taylor.

This land was owned by Moses McKissack’s (and his brother’s) architect company, and it was traded to the city of Nashville in exchange for another plot of land in 1947. Moses McKissack suggested the park be named for Richard Henry Boyd, his friend. The land adjacent to the property was developed into public housing projects named after Preston Taylor in 1954. In the late 1960s, McKissack was asked to design the community center in the park. The community center was called the Preston Taylor Community Center. In 2002, the community center was redone and renamed the Calvin Atchinson Community Center.

Physically, the park itself was originally named the R. H. Boyd Park, which, of course got shortened to Boyd Park. It sits in a valley between McKissack Middle School and the Preston Taylor Public Housing, and across from Tennessee State University. The community center was named after Preston Taylor, but is now named after Calvin Atchinson; it is still colloquially referred to as the Preston Taylor Community Center. Metro Nashville Parks’ website refers to the park as the R. H. Boyd-Preston Taylor Park, but I’ve seen it stylized as Boyd Park, Boyd-Taylor park, and a dozen variations thereof, which made research extremely hard on this park.

The park has 11 acres, a playground, a picnic shelter, a basketball court, and a walking/jogging path. It also runs alongside a creek. There was a lot of debris and trash in the park, and the creek itself. We parked at McKissack Middle School, and walked over, because schools are virtual due to COVID. Had school been in session, I can’t imagine how we would’ve parked to get to this park. The strangest part of this park? I went to McKissack Middle School for the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 school years, and legitimately don’t remember going to this park once. I don’t know if my brain is having some weird mandala affect thing going on, but it blows my mind, especially knowing what I know now about the close relationship between Metro Nashville Parks and Metro Nashville Schools.

Name: R.H. Boyd-Preston Taylor Park

Address: 3900 Clifton Ave, 37209

History: 3 out of 5

Walkability: 3 out of 5

Kid Like-ability- 2 out of 5

Date Night-ability- 1 out of 5

Charm: 1 out of 5

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