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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
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Johnson’s Local Park

Picnic Shelter at Johnson's Local Park
playground Johnson's Local Park
Tennis Court at Johnson's Local Park
Basketball Court at Johnson's Local Park
Baseball Field at Johnson's Local Park
Basketball Courts icon
Basketball Courts
Football Fields icon
Football Fields
Picnic Shelters icon
Picnic Shelters
Playgrounds icon
Softball Fields icon
Softball Fields
Tennis Court icon
Tennis Court

Johnson’s Local Park provides nearby residents with several recreational spaces, including a playground, a baseball field, and tennis courts. M-NCPPC acquired this 10-acre park in 1974.

Rent a Picnic Shelter at Johnson’s Local Park

Picnic shelter reservations are first-come, first-served and are available to rent from April 1 to October 31.

To reserve a shelter, create an online account through ActiveMontgomery

Or you can call the Montgomery Parks Permit Office at 301-495-2525 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.

History: The Center of Emory Grove

Emory Grove United Methodist Church (est. 1874), 2023 Courtesy M-NCPPC
Emory Grove United Methodist Church (est. 1874), 2023 Courtesy M-NCPPC

This park is here today because of what it means to the Emory Grove community. Founded in 1864 when formerly enslaved people bought tracts of land here, Emory Grove became home to a tight-knit African American community. By 1880, it was well-known regionally for religious camp meetings. Thousands of worshippers came in the August heat to listen to sermons, sing, and share food and fellowship underneath the grove of oak trees still providing shade in the park today.

Businessman Edward Johnson bought the grounds in 1947. He added a dance hall and a lighted baseball field, complete with a grandstand and concessions. At a time when racial restrictions blocked African Americans from fair access to parks and recreation, Johnson’s Park was a hub of social and community life. Baseball games were particularly popular on Sunday afternoons after church.

In 1974 Emory Grove was selected for a federally funded urban renewal program to bring sewer lines and indoor plumbing. Most of the homes and businesses in the community were demolished and replaced with homes many former residents could no longer afford. During this time, the advocacy of residents saved Johnson’s Park from the same fate. The park became county parkland in 1974. Initially called Emory Grove Local Park, the community requested its name be restored in 1995.