T.O. Fuller State Park was the first state park open for African Americans east of the Mississippi River. It was designated Shelby Bluffs State Park in 1938 and was later changed to T.O. Fuller State Park in 1942 in honor of Dr. Thomas O. Fuller who spent his life empowering and educating African Americans. A Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in the area initiated construction of the park facilities in 1938.
There is also evidence of the park’s growing historical significance. During an excavation for a proposed swimming pool in 1940, CCC workers unearthed evidence of prehistoric village, opening the door to a lost and forgotten civilization. The site has since been developed as Chucalissa Indian Village and includes a village, preserved archaeological excavations and a modern museum.
T.O. Fuller State Park is located in Shelby County within the southern limits of the city of Memphis. The park consists of 1,138 acres filled with a diverse wildlife. The area is ideal for birdwatchers and outdoor enthusiasts with its abundance of plant and wildlife from the Mississippi flood plains to its high and overshadowing bluff ridges. The park offers more than six-miles of hiking trails ranging from moderate to rugged. The Discovery Trail is a six-mile continuous loop where visitors have the opportunity to see the Chucalissa Indian Village and Wetlands.
Picnicking is also popular with 35 picnic tables and grills located throughout the park. The park has four shelters that can accommodate groups of 40 to 120 people. All shelters have grills, nearby bathroom facilities, picnic tables and electric outlets. Reservations are required and should be made well in advance. For guests looking for a place to swim during their stay, there is an Olympic-size pool centrally located in the main recreation area of the park. The pool is open from early summer through Labor Day.
For more information, please contact the park directly at 901-543-7581.