Nacogdoches holds dedication ceremony for park named for beloved - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches holds dedication ceremony for park named for beloved SFA professor

Ab's Park at 1121 Pearl Street in Nacogdoches is an idea expressed by Dr. Francis 'Ab' Abernethy, SFA professor, historian, musician, and best known as the original 'trailblazer' of Nacogdoches. (Source: KTRE Staff) Ab's Park at 1121 Pearl Street in Nacogdoches is an idea expressed by Dr. Francis 'Ab' Abernethy, SFA professor, historian, musician, and best known as the original 'trailblazer' of Nacogdoches. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Friends and family gathered for the dedication of a park that features benches, butterfly gardens, drinking fountain and a giant lawn chair. (Source: KTRE Staff) Friends and family gathered for the dedication of a park that features benches, butterfly gardens, drinking fountain and a giant lawn chair. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Diana Walker tells those in attendance she was given the 'order' by Abernethy before his death to create the park at the exact location where she stands. (Source: KTRE Staff Writer) Diana Walker tells those in attendance she was given the 'order' by Abernethy before his death to create the park at the exact location where she stands. (Source: KTRE Staff Writer)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

On Friday, the City of Nacogdoches had a park dedication at a pretty spot selected by a person who knew all the best stops on Banita Creek Trail.

It’s called Ab's Park, and it’s in honor of the late Dr. Francis 'Ab' Abernethy, the original trailblazer.

People who knew Dr. Ab spoke to the park's significance.

Abernethy had a hand in his own park dedication. He selected the spot, leaving the task of making it happen to his good friend Diana Walker, who is also the park committee chair.

"He told me,” Walker. “He didn't ask me."

It was almost, but not quite, like having the charming man of persuasion present. 

The musician's classic music filled the air, and the sun was shining. Another order from Ab, several said. 

"We would not be here if it wasn't for one man and a machete,” said State Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches).

And Ab used the cutting edge indiscriminately, when necessary. 

"He wasn't fond of rules, policies, procedures and guidelines,” said Dr. David Creech, the Stephen F. Austin State University Gardens director. “Kind of, 'Why do we have to have a meeting? Let's just go do it.’"

The determination led to at least 11 miles of natural trails along the Lanana and Banita creeks. A legacy remains.

“Our whole goal is of the trails committee is improvements to our existing trails and extending trails wherever we can,” said Clayton Collier, the chair of the trail committee.

"The fact that it continues to go on after Daddy's gone. He is pleased and so are we,” said Deedy Abernethy, Ab’s daughter.

Friends of Historic Nacogdoches raised $34,000 to fulfill Ab's wish for a park on Banita Creek. Visitors will find benches, trees, a bridge and a giant lawn chair. 

"Ab always would sit in his lawn chair, alongside the creek and watch birds,” Walker said.

Enter sculptor Jeffie Brewer. 

"It was a no brainer. I just said, 'how big do you want it?'” Brewer said.

"And from this day forward it will be known as 'Ab's Park,’” said Nacogdoches Mayor Shelley Brophy.
"I know he's up there smiling and saying, ‘Well done,’” Walker said with a chuckle. 

Ab's Park is located at 1221 Pearl Street in Nacogdoches. It's on the Banita Creek Trail between the Farmer's Market and Rusk Street

It has a nice, big rest chair for visitors to enjoy.

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