Jacqueline Park named for businesswoman

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Jacqueline Park has been in the local news often recently. But who was Jacqueline and why is there a park named for her?

From her birth April 26, 1840, until her death July 8, 1930, Jacqueline Ward Taylor was considered to be from hearty pioneer stock.

She was also a businesswoman, which was not unusual during this time.

“Aunt Jack,” as she was called, owned and operated Taylor Hotel on Main Street (then Broadway,) just across from her namesake park, where Harper Motors was once located.

“For boarding houses and hotels – a lot of women ended up doing that because their husbands died,” said Schelley Brown Francis, executive director of the Dorcheat Historical Museum. “Especially during war time, the women had to keep it going.”

Taylor was called one of the most “hospitable” businesswoman in Minden, according to the book If These Stones Could Talk, Part Two. When she died at the age of 90, it is reported that all the stores in town closed from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., so business owners could attend her service.

The funeral was held at the residence of the Rev. R.H. Wynn, pastor of First Methodist Church. Burial is in the Old Minden Cemetery.

“When you pull in the old section, her grave is about the first one on the left,” Francis said. “She was always the ‘main greeter’ when we did Ghost Walk.”

Renovations to Jacqueline Park gazebo – known as a bandstand to Aunt Jack – include a new roof and new posts that will have a place to charge cell phones. Sponsorships were sold to offset the cost and several businesses donated their time to refurbish it.

On Friday, April 8, there will be an unveiling of the projects. Lunch will be provided.