“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Smithville in Bastrop County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

West End Park

West End Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Larry D. Moore, December 5, 2021
1. West End Park Marker
Inscription.  West End Park in Smithville, located 200 yards west, was one of the last Texas stops on the “Chitlin’ Circuit,” a string of performance venues in the south that served as safe and accepting spaces for African American performers. “Chitlin’ Circuit” refers to the chitlins and soul food dishes that clubs often sold, although the clubs were also referred to as the One-Nighter Circuit or the Theatrical Circuit. West End Park was owned by I.T. Harper, a former pitcher for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues, and his wife, Sis. In the racially segregated Jim Crow South, this was an important venue from the early 1900s until the 1960s for many African American musicians excluded from white venues.

The surrounding park was a location for many events and gatherings in the African American community, the majority of whom mainly lived on the south side of the railroad tracks in Smithville. The baseball field at the park was used for Negro Leagues Baseball, and long-time residents recall watching legendary Negro Leagues players such as Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson in exhibition games against the Smithville team. When not arranged
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as a baseball field, local families used West End Park as gathering places for church picnics, holiday celebrations, and family reunions for the African American community. As the Chitlin’ Circuit was a significant part of many notable performers’ careers, renowned jazz and blues artists such as Lightnin’ Hopkins, Etta James, Joe Tex, T-Bone Walker, Roosevelt Thomas Williams (aka. The “Grey Ghost”), and Hannibal Lokumbe (Marvin Peterson) played at the local venue. In 2009, the governor’s office issued a proclamation recognizing West End Park’s significance to Bastrop County and Texas.
Erected 2010 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 16674.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansParks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical year for this entry is 2009.
Location. 30° 0.01′ N, 97° 10.115′ W. Marker is in Smithville, Texas, in Bastrop County. Marker is on Bruner Boulevard, 0.1 miles west of Harper Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 708 Gazley St, Smithville TX 78957, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Chancellor House (approx. 0.7 miles away); Smithville (approx. 0.8 miles away); First Methodist Church of Smithville (approx. 0.9 miles away);
West End Park Marker Area image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Larry D. Moore, December 5, 2021
2. West End Park Marker Area
Leshikar House (approx. one mile away); Rabb House (approx. 1.3 miles away); Stephen Scallorn (approx. 6.2 miles away); Young School House and Cemetery (approx. 6.4 miles away); Site of Woods' Fort (approx. 7.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Smithville.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 5, 2021, by Larry D. Moore of Del Valle, Texas. This page has been viewed 330 times since then and 154 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 5, 2021, by Larry D. Moore of Del Valle, Texas.

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Sep. 26, 2023