H.L. Miller Park
Amenities and Features
- two-acre wooded park
- located behind the Wake Forest Town Hall
- picnic tables
- paved trails
Park is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
Smoking is limited to parking areas only.
Use of personal grills (gas and/or charcoal) is prohibited.
Dogs must be on a leash. Also, please clean up after your dog. Dog waste receptacles and bags are provided.
H.L. Miller Park is a two-acre wooded park located at 401 Elm Ave, the northwest corner of Elm Avenue and S Franklin Street, behind the Wake Forest Town Hall. The Park is named for Henry Love Miller (1899-1991), a prominent businessman, philanthropist, and supporter of the Town of Wake Forest.
Henry Love Miller was born in Oklahoma on June 16, 1899, to Henry L. and Maddie Gant Miller. He grew up in Texas, working on ranches and in the oil fields starting at age 14. After enlisting in the Army in 1919, he was stationed at Camp Bragg (now Fort Bragg) near Fayetteville, NC, where he met and married Ida Bell Benson. Miller had one daughter, Elizabeth, and a stepson Oscar, who was Ida’s son from a previous marriage. Miller and his family moved to Wake Forest in 1924 after his discharge from the army.
Miller reportedly arrived in Wake Forest almost penniless. He took a job at an auto repair shop. By 1940 he was able to buy the local Ford Dealership, which he owned until 1949. In 1945 he bought the rights to a local oil facility and started Miller Oil Co. which he sold in 1979. He also owned a coin operated car wash.
Miller served as Mayor of Wake Forest from 1953 to 1959. He was chairman of the Wake Forest Library, which he helped establish in the 1960’s (before the county library system existed). He was instrumental in acquiring the old Central Carolina Bank building for use as a library. In his will, he left money to the library which was used to help fund the recent renovation.
Miller purchased land in the Wake Forest area, which he then sometimes used for town projects. He donated land for the Northern Wake Hospital, which served Wake Forest from 1963 to 1994. Miller donated or undersold (accounts differ) the land where the Wake Forest Town Hall, Fire Department and HL Miller Park are now located.
Miller volunteered with many community boards and civic groups over the years, including serving as district chairman for WW2 war loans organization (1944), Rotary Club (1947), Boy Scouts Executive board (1956), Chairman of the Wake Forest Community Council. He helped establish the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce, then served as its director and chairman. He also served as a member of the board and long-time chairman of Wake Forest Federal Savings & Loan. Miller was named Wake Forest Citizen of the Year in 1967.
After his wife Ida died in 1971, Miller married again to Angie Tingen. H.L. Miller died on October 9, 1991, at the age of 92. He is buried in Wake Forest Cemetery. Before his death, he established a charitable fund which has provided donations to the library, EMS, fire department, and the Trentini Foundation.
Miller was extremely active in supporting his adopted hometown, but he didn’t think he did anything special. He is quoted as saying, “In the old days, everybody helped everybody out. I guess I have felt that what I have done is my duty.”
Miller Park was named on October 8, 1981, at a recommendation of the Town’s Tree Board. The Park features picnic tables, paved trails, and bridges across a small stream. There is an informational sign in the park about Scour Holes for stormwater management.
Researched and written by Elizabeth Miller, Wake Forest Historic Preservation Commission
The Wake Weekly
The Wake Forest Gazette
Raleigh News and Observer
The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC paper)
Crespo, Carrie. “H.L. Miller: A Self-made Success Story” The Wake Weekly, January 28, 2008.