Hanes Park was given to the citizens of Winston Salem on June 3, 1919, by P.H. Hanes, founder of Hanes Knitting Company to mark the incorporation of Winston and Salem.
P.H. Hanes gave 47 acres of prime land near the center of Winston Salem, “to be used forever exclusively for public purposes, such as park, playgrounds, or school purposes;” to be designed under the direction of a noted landscape architect; and “beautified and forever maintained and kept up by the City of Winston Salem.”
The land was officially deeded to the Citizens on August 9, 1919. The first page of the deed describes the boundaries of the original 47 acres given. The second page of the deed describes the conditions of the gift which included a new school.
Such a park, given to citizens and incorporating schools, is a unique treasure not only for us here in Winston Salem, but is unique among parks in the United States.
The park was the centerpiece of a larger plan that included surrounding neighborhoods, public schools and public buildings. In addition to donating Wiley School, P.H. Hanes was instrumental in the donation of land so that Katherine Reynolds might gift R. J. Reynolds High School and Reynolds Auditorium to the City — also developed as part of this larger and shared vision. The original official acerage has been significantly reduced as portions of the land was deeded away by The City of Winston Salem to The Winston Salem Forsyth County Schools when the City schools system converted to a County system.
A preliminary plan for Hanes Park featured a grand walking boulevard to transverse the park for passive use as well as fields for programed sports to be shared by all citizens. As much of the preliminary plan differs from the actual landscape including the name of streets and placement of the stream, note you can orientate yourself by the Southern Railroad line, just visible behind the school building on the upper right corner. The school depicted is a preliminary drawing of Wiley School.
The round river rock used for the entrances and stairways into the Park were brought in by mule train from Davie county. Both P.H. Hanes and Katherine Reynolds were firm adherents of the new urban parks movement spearheaded by Frederick Law Olmstead at the turn of the 20th century. Winston Salem is most fortunate to have such a grand park developed during the period. By the 1960’s, as land values climbed, such large urban parks became rare as smaller “pocket parks” were more typical of urban developments.
When completed, Hanes Park was lauded as the finest public park in the South.