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Preston Taylor, a black millionaire, was a minister, undertaker, and philanthropist. The Preston Taylor Homes on Clifton Avenue in Nashville are named for him.
Taylor owned the land on which Greenwood Cemetery sits today (1998) and much of the surrounding property. The location was near the present intersection of Elm Hill Pike and Spence Lane. He built a large home for his family on site and in 1905 he opened an amusement park for Nashville’s black citizens on a section of the property. The site was at the end of the Fairfield Street trolley line, with the entrance to the park being on Lebanon Road.
The park is said to have had rides and amusements. Other facilities included a swimming pool and ball diamond. It was the site of the annual Black State Fair and a Boy Scout summer camp. Additionally Fourth of July celebrations were held at the park.
Taylor died in the 1930’s. One report indicates that his widow attempted to keep the park open but that it died out sometime in the 1940’s. Another states that the park was left to the Disciples of Christ Church which closed it in the late 1940’s. At that time there were attempts by the black community and the Nashville Park Board to retain the site as a public park, but the efforts failed.
Nothing remains of Greenwood Park. Some of the site is now the right-of-way the Seaboard Coast Line railroad and apartments occupy another portion of the land.
Resources & References
Johnson, Leland R., The Parks of Nashville. (Nashville: Metropolitan Nashville Board of Parks and Recreation, 1986).
The Nashville Banner, September 4, 1981.