Iola Jones Park

Dr. Iola Jones Park Community Center, image courtesy of the City of Florence

Location: 800 Oakland Ave, Florence, SC 29501

Dr. Iola Jones Park is named after Florence social worker Iola Deale Jones, who lived from 1892 to 1978. She was a prominent Black voice in the Florence community. Some of her involvement included being the vice president of the Women’s Baptist State Convention of South Carolina, head of the Garden Club, and head of the National Council of Negro Women. Through her work, she became a consultant for the White House in 1950. In that role, she helped develop a foster care system for the Florence area. Dr. Jones wanted to ensure that the children of the community were being properly cared for.

Before the park was built, the location used to be the American Legion Stadium. Built in the 1930s, the segregated stadium eventually burned down in 1970. The cause of the fire remains unknown. However, after the area was cleared, Dr. Iola Jones Park was built, although we are unsure of what year exactly it was finished. The park was named in Jones’s honor after she passed. It stands as a thank-you for all the work she contributed to the community.

Today, the park has a variety of activities for the community to take part in within its seven-point-five acres. The newest addition to the park is its indoor community center, added in 2020. The building has a variety of activities, including a boxing ring, foosball, and other rooms where community members can relax. The outdoor section of the park includes activities such as four joined basketball courts, a baseball field, a softball field, and a playground for children. The park also features a quarter-of-a-mile walking trail where visitors can enjoy the scenery. 

The park is close to the Ebony Guest House, the next location you will visit on this tour. Because of their proximity, many of the celebrities that performed at the American Legion Stadium also stayed at the Guest House. Some of these celebrities included Tina Turner, Jackie Wilson, and Fats Domino.