In 1925 Willis Barnum and his wife paid $14,896 for a 480-acre parcel of land to create a park in what is now central Tucson, deeding it to the city on a long-term purchase agreement. The L-shaped park, which is one mile in width and length with a half-mile-square neighborhood in its northwest corner, was named for prominent railroad executive and Tucson citizen Epes Randolph, who died in 1921.
In 1978 the western third of Randolph Park was renamed for the City of Tucson’s first parks director, Gene C. Reid, upon his retirement. In over thirty years as director Reid expanded Tucson’s park system from 8 to 84 parks and made significant additions to Randolph. Reid oversaw the addition of the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center, the zoo, the expansion and renovation of Randolph Golf Course, and the excavation of two lakes which doubled as irrigation reservoirs. The zoo and lakes also bear Reid’s name. The recreation center and golf complex remain named after Randolph.
Find out more about the Reid Park Zoo.