My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 1 second. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Remember: Park History 1

Friday, July 17, 2009

Park History 1

As we progress further with park renovation plans, I believe it to be important to take a look back on our park history. I’ll begin this series of posts with a little anecdote about the very beginning of our park system. I have seen this story reprinted in various forms on various publications down at the historical library.

Today, we have over 1000 acres of parkland in our city but 109 years ago we had none. There was a time when Pennsylvania’s park place had no parks at all. If not for the actions of a small child, we may never have built any either.

The story goes that in 1904 a small boy was brought before Mayor Fred Lewis by a policeman. The cop wanted to have the boy reprimanded for breaking a window in a building near a city owned vacant lot where he was playing. Mayor Lewis decided that the problem was not with the boy but with the lack of a park where city children could play.

Lewis then ordered a city engineer to figure out the possibility of turning the land that once was purchased for the building of a reservoir into a city park. Following the engineer’s suggestion, Mayor Lewis transferred the land from the supervision of the Water Department to the new Department of Parks and began work on a city ordinance that would lead to the creation of West Park.

With the aid of General Trexler, West Park became something greater by the time it opened. Trexler donated funds to hire a Philadelphia architect by the name of J. Franklin Meehan to lay out a plan for West Park that included the now famous band shell and fountain as well as designs for walks and gardens.

Here in 2009, West Park has long been established as one of our finest and most storied parks. It is interesting to take a look back and see how things really started to get rolling. The story of our parks at this point was just beginning. More to Come…



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home