The park should be named in his honor.

In 1980, the Mary McLeod Bethune Women’s Civic Club petitioned Wilson Parks and Recreation Director Burt Gillette to name a new city park for Oliver Nestus Freeman. Their letter contains interesting details of Freeman’s life, including more about his amusement park and the focus of his real estate development.

The petition was successful.

The origins of the linear park.

Wilson Daily Times, 14 January 1983.

In January 1983, the City’s Community Development announced the installation of a 1100 foot long linear park to replace a noisome open drainage ditch running between Vance and Viola Streets. The park was to include a play area, picnic tables, grills, fruit trees, and a paved path. “The city acquired most of the property for the park from the heirs of S.H. Vick, a former community leader who once owned much of east Wilson.”

In this 1940 aerial view of the area, the drainage ditch is visible as a darker gray angling across the interior of the block between Vance and Viola Streets, then angling sharply near Vick Street to join its source, the branch of Toisnot Swamp that flows behind Reid Street Community Center and the former Sam Vick Elementary School, now the offices of OIC. (Another fork of the branch flowed parallel to Elba Street toward Viola.)

And here is the Linear Park now.

Aerial photo from Wilson_CSP_6B_12, U.S.D.A. Photograph Collection, State Archives of North Carolina; current photo courtesy of Google Maps.