Stuart Nelson Park


About Stuart Nelson Park

175 Stuart Nelson Park Rd Paducah KY 42001

55 acres


Shelter Rental 

  •  Sign holders have been installed at each shelter and a calendar will be posted weekly indicating reserved dates by listing the name of the individual or entity that paid the reservation fee.
  •  If a shelter has been reserved through the Parks office by an individual or entity paying the rental fee, then it would not be available to the public on that date. Reservations are for the entire day (from the time the park opens until it closes).
  •  No shelter may be reserved less than five (5) business days prior to the date of the reservation.
  • Call 270-444-8508 for more information.
Stuart Nelson Park Shelter Rental Reservation Fee
Shelter #3, #4, and #6 $25
Discounts are available to official, documented non-profit organizations.
Persons residing outside McCracken County will not be allowed discounts and will have a 50% surcharge placed on all reservations.

Reserving a Ballfield

Follow this link to find out more about rates and policies for reserving ballfields.

About Dr. William Stuart Nelson 

A dedication ceremony was held August 4, 2016, at Stuart Nelson Park to honor the park’s namesake, Dr. William Stuart Nelson, with the unveiling of historical marker #2495 through the Kentucky Historical Society.  

Mayor Gayle Kaler worked to to raise funds for the marker after reading a citizen editorial in the Paducah Sun newspaper written by Carolyn Stratton.  Mayor Kaler worked with the Paducah Board of Commissioners, the McCracken County Fiscal Court, the Parks and Recreation Department, the board of the W.C. Young Community Center, the Paducah chapter of the NAACP, the Paducah Human Rights Commission, local ministers, and other interested parties to collect donations and submit an application to the Kentucky Historical Society to make the historical marker a reality.

Mayor Kaler says, “I felt that it was important to recognize the accomplishments of our one of most important citizens.  Everyone can now understand the importance of Dr. William Stuart Nelson to the community’s history and thus to honor him as a great man of Paducah.”

The marker reads

Dr. William Stuart Nelson


Lincoln Grad Had Global Footprints

Dr. Nelson was born in Paris, Ky. and graduated from Lincoln High School in Paducah.  During World War I he served in combat as a 1st lieutenant.  Returning to his studies, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University in 1920 and a divinity degree from Yale in 1924. 

A professor of religion at Howard, Nelson studied at the Sorbonne in France in 1925 and was the first black president of Dillard and Shaw universities.  Returning to Howard, he served as dean & vice president.  He marched with Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and wrote several books and papers on non-violent resistance.  This park was named for him in the 1940s.