- Creek Access
- Green House
- Picnic Area
- Soccer Field
- Tennis Courts
- Walking Path
Wilson Park is located in the center of the city. It is bordered to the north and south by Prospect Street and Louise Street and to the east and west by Park Avenue and Wilson Avenue. With 22.75 acres, it is Fayetteville's first and oldest park.
As early as 1906, Wilson Park, Fayetteville's original City Park, was owned, maintained, and operated privately by civic-minded A.L. Trent. Each spring, Trent's Pond, now used as a softball field on the east side of the park, was used by local residents as the City's swimming hole, boating area, and social gathering spot. Scull Creek, a unique feature of the park fed by a spring that surfaces from under the castle, flows south along the east boundary of Wilson Park under the swimming pool and exits at the west boundary of the park.
In the mid-1920s, a group of local businessmen - led by Dr. Noah Drake - purchased City Park from Mr. Trent. They formed the City Park Company, which built the first permanent pool at the park as well as a tourist camp for the new and burgeoning automobile travel craze then sweeping the nation. This portion of the park was purchased by the City of Fayetteville in 1944.
In 1946, renowned local author Charles Morrow Wilson sold and donated approximately 17 acres of land west of the original park, known as Wilson's Pasture, to the City. Wilson stipulated that City Park, now the size we know it, be officially named Mattie Morrow Wilson Memorial Park, in honor of his mother. Today the park is called Wilson Park and is one of the City's most popular parks.
- Basketball Court
- Castle Area
- Green House
- Picnic Areas
- Softball Field
- Swimming Pool
- Tennis Courts (6)
- Volleyball Court (sand)
- Walking Trail (0.9 miles)
Wilson Park "Castle" History
An active spring emerges from behind the iron door with the Dogwood flower on it. During the early 1900s, this spring fed into what was known as Trent's Pond, a local swimming hole which was located exactly where the ball field is now. In the early 1930s the current swimming pool was constructed, eliminating the need for the swimming hole. Prior to 1979 there was an unsightly concrete spring house located over the spring.
The presence of this spring house is why this site was chosen for the "Castle". During the 1960s and '70s Wilson Park became increasingly popular, the spring house area was considered unsafe and unattractive. As a result, all agreed that this area had the potential for a creative, interactive park feature to be designed and constructed. In the late 1970s a contest was held to present ideas for enhancement of this area to citizens, Park's staff and Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB).
Artist and Sculptor Frank Williams won the contest with a scale model of what would eventually be known as "The Castle". Originally Frank named it "Seven Points". The sculpture features seven cement "points" and a rock in the foot bridge with the number "7" in it. Soon after completion in 1981 it was nicknamed "The Castle".
The Castle has become increasingly popular over the years, receiving thousands of visitors annually. Over time, the structural integrity began to weaken, requiring renovations to the original project. These improvements were completed in 1999 and 2004. Rock walls on the planting spaces were constructed, aggregate walkways were added, entry areas were enlarged, the bridge rails were re-built, and the dam below the bridge was reinforced.
Other improvements that were created by Artist Eugene Sargent include the addition of ferrocement benches that resemble flowers and leaves, a flower fountain was fashioned for the pond, and in 2009 a "worm" retaining wall was added.
The Castle is nestled among gardens and trees. The gardens are the collective work of Parks and Recreation gardeners and many devoted volunteers. Follow this link for more on Wilson Park Gardens.