Baltimore City Parks

Introduction

Patterson ParkAs cities in the United States blossomed during the industrial revolution in the mid-nineteenth century, Americans soon found themselves craving the benefits of nature and the undeveloped environment. Progressives and public officials agreed that citizens living in noisy, overcrowded tenements surrounded by brick and stone, and faced with endless amounts of pollution needed an escape from the drudgery of city living. The result was the birth of the modern public park or an Americanized version of the expertly-manicured English garden. The goal of the urban public park was to preserve and enhance undeveloped space, and to provide the beneficial effects of a natural "wild" environment, while at the same time maintaining order and promoting civilization. 

Established in 1853, New York's Central Park was one of the nation's first city parks. Considered the father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted meticulously architected the design of Central Park, yet left it "wild" enough to give the visitor a feeling of being close to nature. Soon after, Olmsted's services as a landscape architect were commissioned all over the United States, including Baltimore. His ideas and visions have directly impacted many famous urban parks and the National Park Service.

Baltimore's park system began around the same time as the establishment of New York's Central Park during the mid-nineteenth century. As the oldest public park in Baltimore, Patterson Park was originally owned by William Patterson. During the War of 1812, local Baltimoreans joined up with the militia at the site of Patterson Park to defend the city of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. from advancing British troops. In 1827, Patterson donated six acres of his property to the city of Baltimore with the intent that it be made into public recreational space. It became an official city public park in 1853. During the Civil War, the land served as an important military camp and hospital center. Patterson Park’s acreage was later expanded in 1873, 1883, 1907, and 1913. The later expansions came with the help of the Olmsted Brothers. The park has contained numerous architectural structures, some of which still stand today like the Pagoda (1891). Today, Patterson Park still serves the public as a 137-acre recreational space in the middle of the city.

As the second oldest public park in Baltimore, Druid Hill Park is perhaps better known than any other Baltimore park. The area which is now considered Druid Hill Park was once owned primarily by three generations of the Rogers Family. Nicholas Rogers (son of the first Nicholas Rogers who originally purchased the land) developed an interest in landscape architecture when he studied in Glasgow, Scotland during the late eighteenth century. As a veteran of the American Revolution, Nicholas Rogers is known for planting many of the trees in the park and for constructing the original mansion (which was destroyed by fire and later replaced in the early nineteenth century). Rogers died in 1822 freeing all of his slaves and bequeathing most of his land to his only son, Lloyd Nicholas Rogers. Established as an official city park in 1860 when Lloyd Rogers sold most of the land, Druid Hill Park is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Its most well known elements are the man-made Druid Lake, which began construction in 1863, and the Maryland Zoo (previously known as the Baltimore Zoo). Established in 1876, the Zoo received its early animal collections from prominent Baltimoreans who wanted to enhance the experience of nature in the park. Druid Hill Park continues to revitalize the citizens of Baltimore today with its 746 acres.

Baltimore’s third municipal park, Carroll Park, was originally part of the enormous Mount Clare estate owned by Charles Carroll, Barrister in the mid-eighteenth century. It also served as a union encampment during the Civil War. Purchased by Baltimore in 1890, Carroll Park’s 170 acres of land now features a golf course, recreational facilities instituted by the Olmsted Brothers, and the original Mt. Clare Mansion constructed in 1756.

Sources: Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks; Bowditch, Eden Unger. Baltimore's Historic Parks and Gardens. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishers, 2004; Frederick Law Olmsted, National Historic Site; Parks & People: The Foundation for Baltimore City Recreation & Parks

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12.

Era 7: The Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930)

STANDARD 3: How the United States changed from the end of World War I to the eve of the Great Depression>

STANDARD 3C: The student understands how new cultural movements reflected and changed American society
5-12: Assess how increased leisure time promoted the growth of professional sports, amusement parks, and national parks.   [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Patterson Park - Pagoda
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: ca. 1893
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.40.VF

  2. DESCRIPTION:Stereoview, Patterson Park Lake
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.173

  3. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Patterson Park
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1860-1912
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.295

  4. DESCRIPTION: Photograph,  Patterson Park
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1860-1912
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.312

  5. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Patterson Park Observatory (Hughes Co. Baltimore)
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.1110

  6. DESCRIPTION: Map and directory of Camp Patterson Park [Baltimore, Maryland] One Hundred and Tenth Regiment of New York Volunteers. Col. D.C. Littlejohn, commanding By. J.B. Butler, engineer and surveyor. Printed by F. Bourgquin & Co., Philadelphia. September 27, 1862.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: [Philadelphia F. Bourquin & Co.], 1862.
    NOTES from American Memory: Scale 1:360. Reference: LC Civil War Maps (2nd ed.), 256 Detailed map indicating position of tents, principal buildings, wagon roads, and "earthwork intrenchments of the War of 1812." Tents are keyed by number to a list of occupants printed at the sides and bottom of the map. Includes portraits of nine officers of the regiment. Description derived from published bibliography.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHT: Copyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCE: Military Battles and Campaigns, Map Collections
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C.

  7. DESCRIPTION: Colored lithograph, Camp Patterson Park. Baltimore, Md. 110th Reg't New York Volunteers, Col. D.C. Littlejohn.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: E. Sachse & Co., 1862
    SOURCE: Cator Print Collection, Print #38
    REPOSITORY: Special Collections, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD

  8. DESCRIPTION: Colored lithograph, U.S.A General Hospital, Patterson Park, Baltimore, Md.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: E. Sachse & Co., 1863
    SOURCE: Cator Print Collection, Print #42
    REPOSITORY: Special Collections, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD

  9. DESCRIPTION: "The Importance of a Botanical Garden, For the Unimproved Section of Patterson Park: Read Before the East Baltimore Business Men and Old Town Merchant's and Manuf. Associations"
    AUTHOR: John F. Hancock
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: November 1887
    SOURCE: HBK Maryland Room F189.B17P26 1887
    REPOSITORY: University of Maryland, College Park

  10. DESCRIPTION: Postcard, Druid Hill Park - Mansion with sheep
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.138

  11. DESCRIPTION: Stereoview, W.M. Chase, fishing, Silver Lake, Druid Hill Park
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.174

  12. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Carriage, Druid Hill Park
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.217

  13. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Elks, Druid Hill Park Zoo
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: after 1881
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.218

  14. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Druid Hill Park taken at Annual Sunday School Picnic
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.279

  15. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Music Stand - Druid Hill Park
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.287

  16. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Gateway to Druid Hill Park
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.296

  17. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Music Pavilion at Druid Hill Park
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.298

  18. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Bear Pit at Druid Hill Park
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.436

  19. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Bandstand on the Mall Druid Hill Park
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.437

  20. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Goat Cart - Druid Hill Park
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.796

  21. DESCRIPTION: Postcard, Druid Hill Park - Camel House, Henry Rinn, Jr.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.976

  22. DESCRIPTION: "Correspondence in regard to John W. Garrett's present of four camels to Druid Hill Park"
    PRODUCED BY: Public Park Commission
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1883
    SOURCE: HBK Maryland Room F189.B17 D78 1883 
    REPOSITORY: University of Maryland, College Park

  23. DESCRIPTION: Postcard, Boat Lake, Druid Hill Park - Baltimore, Maryland
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.999

  24. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Park Policeman Baltimore City Park
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.468

  25. DESCRIPTION: Colored lithograph, Camp Carroll. Baltimore, Md.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: E. Sachse & Co., 1862
    SOURCE: Cator Print Collection, Print #36
    REPOSITORY: Special Collections, Enoch Pratt Free Library

  26. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Baltimore - Carroll Park Playground
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Unknown
    REPRODUCTIONS: Image reproductions and permission
    REPOSITORY: H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society, Z24.44.VF

Additional Media Resources

Druid Hill Park National Park Service

The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920. From the Library of Congress, American Memory.

Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site

Additional Instructional Resources

National Park Service - Landscape Explorers

Secondary Resources

Blodgett, Geoffrey. "Frederick Law Olmsted: Landscape Architecture as Conservative Reform." The Journal of American History Vol. 62, No. 4 (Mar., 1976), pp. 869-889.

Bowditch, Eden Unger. Baltimore's Historic Parks and Gardens. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishers, 2004.

Magnus, Becky and Lisa C. Jack, eds. Druid Hill Park Revisited: A Pictorial Essay. Baltimore, MD: Friends of Druid Hill Park, 1985.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

Baltimore City
Department of Recreation & Parks

410-396-7459
Friends of Patterson Park, Inc.
27 South Patterson Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21231

Parks & People:
The Foundation for Baltimore City Recreation & Parks

Steiff Silver Building
800 Wyman Park Drive, Suite 010
Baltimore, MD 21211

 

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Access to materials linked within these document packets is intended for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The responsibility for making an independent legal assessment and independently securing any necessary rights rests with persons desiring to use particular items in the context of the intended use.

Password Access to Materials

The use of any user name and password to access materials on this web site constitutes an agreement by the user to abide by any and all copyright restrictions and is an acknowledgement that these materials will be used for personal and educational use only. In most instances, the username aaco and password aaco# will work. Contact ref@mdsa.net if you have any questions or have difficulty accessing files.

Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Sarah Davis.

 

Teaching American History | Document Packets Index

 
 
  An Archives of Maryland Online Publication • © Copyright 2001-2005 Maryland State Archives
Maryland State Archives • 350 Rowe Boulevard • Annapolis, MD 21401 • 410-260-6400 • msa.helpdesk@maryland.gov