Legacy Society

Nina Cullinan

Why Do We Remember This Lady?

When Nina Cullinan passed away in 1983, she left behind a will that said:

… I bequeath to The Houston Parks Board … for the purpose of acquiring land to be used as a public park or parks and additionally, if this gift is adequate, for capital improvements to such acquired land. … My wish is not to furnish recreational acreage, but is to add a place of beauty and peacefulness in the city. Such park will be held in memory of my parents … and shall, if possible, be named the Cullinan Park.

With the funds provided through the legacy of this native Houstonian, the Houston Parks Board purchased 450 acres of land first settled in 1828 by a member of Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three Hundred and used for more than150 years for raising cattle, sugar cane, and other crops. An additional 299 acres were purchased with funds provided by The Brown Foundation and the City of Houston.

Today, nearly thirty years later, Cullinan Park is one of the most important prairie and woodland preserves in the greater Houston area. It is treasured as a place to enjoy birding, fishing, hiking, picnicking, and other outdoor activities. No matter how much the region becomes urbanized, Cullinan Park will be a place where visitors can come to find a natural refuge.

As farsighted and generous as Nina Cullinan was, she was not unique. In fact, more than half of Houston’s 21,000 acres of parkland have been contributed by generous citizens who understood the value of green space in the life of their city. Hermann Park, Keith-Wiess Park, Freed Art & Nature Park, Hermann Brown Park, Mason Park and hundreds of other parks large and small have been made possible because civic-minded men and women gave them to our city.

In many cases, Houstonians have planned during their lifetimes to make these gifts through bequests. Some choose to make outright gifts of land, while others provide financial resources that the Parks Board can use to purchase property.

We are delighted to recognize all of these generous individuals through our newly formed Legacy Society. We invite you to join many other farsighted Houstonians in considering a planned gift to the Houston Parks Board.