History Mystery: Officials Search For Man Behind Name Of Fred Douglas Park

Posted at 10:35 PM, Feb 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-15 23:40:15-05

Officials with the Metro Nashville Parks Department has asked for the public's help in solving a Music City history mystery.

Metro park officials want to know whether or not a popular East Nashville park is named after the well-known abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

The park in question is Fred Douglas Park, despite the differently spelled last name and shortened “Fred.”

After a meeting Wednesday with Nashville historians, Tommy Lynch, the Metro Parks Director believed the park was indeed meant to be named for Douglass.

Historians presented a picture of Douglass with the name “Fred Douglas” along with it, claiming that Douglass added the second “s” in his name later in life, and several of his associates would refer to him as “Fred” instead of Frederick.

Also, Lynch said no one can find a prominent Fred Douglas from the 1930s in Nashville.

“At this point in time, we don’t have anyone else to look to the park being named after,” Lynch said.

Metro Park Board meeting minutes didn’t make the debate any clearer. The minutes showed the park was meant to be called “Douglas” park, but the word "Fred" was inserted before "Douglas" in handwriting.

Metro Parks officials said they're still going to do more research before they make a definitive decision that it was named after Douglass.

The department asked anyone who may know someone named Fred Douglas from the 1930s, to give Metro Parks a call.