Sesquicentennial Park was developed along the banks of Buffalo Bayou as a commemoration of Houston's and Texas' 150th birthday. The 10.4-acre site flanks the bayou as it meanders past Wortham Theater Center. The 2.2-acre grand entrance multi-level park, completed August 1989, was built in two phases. This area includes a fountain and a stairway to the park's promenade, which runs along the western edge of the Wortham property on the bayou's east bank.
The 8.2-acre second phase was completed in May 1998, culminating a $19 million public-private project requiring 14 years. The high point of the project - literally - is the collection of seven 70-foot stainless steel pillars that line the eastern bank. Another prominent feature of the park is The Common, a gently sloping, 1.25-acre semi-circular lawn that serves as a staging area for outdoor events.
Sesquicentennial Park is a unique venue for outdoor activities of all kinds. Water-based events, such as the Buffalo Bayou Regatta, and anything suited to a gathering of persons wearing T-shirts and comfortable shoes is ideal. Tented events on Commons also work well along the bayou, as do concerts.
The 8.2-acre Phase II section of the park, which opened in the 1998, features the following elements:
The Common - A gently sloping 1.25-acre lawn flanked by a walkway and stately trees.
Allen H. Carruth Promenade - Shaded by large cypress trees and enclosed by an historic balustrade overlook wall, the 24-foot walkway features five of the massive park pillars, created by architects TeamHou and artist Mel Chin.
Preston Avenue Bridge - A pedestrian link to the bayou’s east and west banks, the Preston Avenue Bridge is lined with wide sidewalks and replicas of the historic lighting that once adorned this early bayou crossing.
The Garden Club of Houston Garden - Located on the western bank of Sesquicentennial Park, this natural sweeping grassy slope contains extensive native plantings, unique stonework, and natural water pools.
George Bush Monument - A tribute to the 41st American president, the Bush Monument was unveiled to the public in December 2004. A free public green space, the park is open to the public 365 days a year and features an eight-foot, 650-pound bronze sculpture of the former president and a semicircular wall consisting of four bas-reliefs that depict President Bush in various stages of his life.
The Josephine B. and Anthony Charles Muller Overlook - Situated on a bayou curve near the Prairie and Bagby Street Bridge, this overlook site is the perfect spot to take in the spectacular view of Houston’s downtown buildings.
Seven Wonders - Rising dramatically above Buffalo Bayou’s Sesquicentennial Park are the seven 70-ft-tall pillars “Seven Wonders.” Flanking the park’s Promenade and Preston Avenue Bridge, the columns highlight Houston’s history through the themes of agriculture, energy, manufacturing, medicine, philanthropy, technology, and transportation. Each column is constructed of 150 individual children’s drawings, etched in stainless steel plate.
Size: 22.5 acres
THE 41ST PRESIDENT
The George Bush Monument, a tribute to the 41st American president, is a public green space open without charge year-round.
The monument reflects the former president’s unique ability to balance historic accomplishment with personal approachability and kindness. The park is well-lighted and includes benches and paved footpaths.
Before serving as president from 1989 to 1993, President Bush served as vice president under Ronald Reagan, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, chairman of the Republican National Committee, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and U.S. representative from Houston.
His eight-foot bronze sculpture by renowned artist Chas Feagan stands by a semicircular wall consisting of four bas-reliefs that depict him in various stages of his life. The wall and its benches invite visitors to sit and "visit" with the president. Two eagles symbolizing the presidency flank the backdrop of the monument, which was dedicated in December 2004.
The Bush Monument sits across the bayou from Baker Common, which honors former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and his family. Baker served under Presidents Bush, Reagan and Ford.
Visitors approaching on foot will find the stately green space in Sesquicentennial Park, on the west bank of Buffalo Bayou across from Wortham Center in downtown Houston. Motorists can park at metered spaces near the park entry at Bagby and Franklin Streets.