We love a mystery. Especially a mystery wrapped in an enigma.
The enigma is lonely Bailey Park. The mystery is — or was — its namesake or namesakes.
The 2-acre park on West 33rd Street seems at sea between the Seton Medical Center and St. Andrew's Episcopal School. Usually, small parks with playgrounds, pools and sports courts are located near homes with families. But the residential part of Bryker Woods that formerly surrounded Bailey Park on the banks of Shoal Creek has evaporated.
The park is still enticing with its flagstone pavilion, softball field, volleyball court and new splash pad, which replaced a wading pool in 2010.
But who is — or was — Bailey?
Multiple sources state that in 1935, F.G. Rossener purchased the land located in the George Spears league for $320. At the Austin History Center sits a file of material on Josephine Carlson Bailey and her husband Gordon Bailey.
A native of Austin born in 1909, Josephine worked for the Parks and Recreation Department for nearly 40 years. In 1939, she married Gordon.
Born in Hunter's Bend the same year as his wife, he attended the University of Texas and played pro baseball in the Texas League, Cotton State League and Dixie League. He served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II and received his master's degree after the war, going on to serve as principal of Johnston High School from 1960 to 1972. Gordon A. Bailey Middle School is named for him.
He died in 1990, his wife in 1995.
My guess — Untold Austin Stories always welcomes reader input— is that Josephine is the park's namesake. Or could it honor this remarkable couple together?