Located at 2601 Fairmount Boulevard, the park is bounded by the Santa Ana River to the west and Route 60 to the north.
By the time the Fairmount Park Citizens Committee organized in 1979 the park was plagued by crime, deferred maintenance, and declining use. The committee came together to respond to these issues as well as proposals that would destroy the park's natural look and features.
In 2011, the City Parks Alliance was able to write that revitalization efforts in Fairmount Park "exemplified the catalytic power of parks to transform urban areas." Once again, park visitors stroll along shady paths, fish and boat on 40 acres of lakes, play with their children, and gather as a community for concerts and celebrations.
Small changes came at first, including volunteer-led clean-ups and stepped-up presence of police and park rangers to deter crime and improve safety. Later, major improvements were undertaken through the ambitious, $1.8 billion citywide program "2006 Riverside Renaissance."
Among the later efforts was a $1.5 million rehabilitation of Fairmount Lake and Lake Evans in 2008, which brought fishing back to these two lakes along with pedal boats and sailing. A $2.6 million universally accessible playground was built in 2010. Considered the "gold standard for inclusion," the playground is designed to delight and challenge all children.
Today Fairmount Park has reclaimed its Olmsted and community legacies, inspiring one resident to brag, "You won't find another park that is as family oriented."
- The firm Olmsted & Olmsted hired to write a park plan for Riverside in 1911; entire plan too costly, but many elements implemented including a boathouse (1912), improved entrance (1912), Lake Evans (1924)
- 1911 plan included passive landscape in the park's historical core to take advantage of surrounding vistas and preserve natural features
- 1985 tree inventory showed that many trees from 1911 Planting Plan were still alive; Olmsted Planting Plan used to reforest park
- Park as a whole, and band shell specifically, designated local historic landmarks; planning guided by city's Cultural Resources Ordinance and Historic Preservation Element in Riverside's general plan
- Used as a picnic and swim area as early as 1870; dedicated as a 35-acre park in 1898; would eventually be expanded to 245 acres
- Band shell constructed in 1920 designed by Arthur Benton, prominent Mission Revival Style architect; rebuilt twice after fires in 1986, 1992
- Union Pacific Engine #6051 memorial installed in 1954 commemorates 50th anniversary of railroad coming to city; Water Buffalo memorial installed in 1946 celebrates Riverside's role in manufacturing World War II vehicle
- 1912 boathouse reconstructed and dedicated in 1994 as Stewarts Boathouse, in honor of Bob and Pat Stewart, residents who led revitalization efforts
- Site of 1983 City of Riverside Centennial Celebration
- Riverside Lawn Bowling Club formed at park in 1926; club still meets and offers free instruction and bowls for beginners
- Golf course built in 1930, one of earliest public courses in Southern California; still operates
- Recently revived Friends of Fairmount Park chaired by Pat Stewart
- Decades of flooding, limited maintenance funding, and crime left park undesirable and poorly visited; major revitalization started in 2001
- Operation Safe Park, started in 2001, brought together police, Park and Recreation employees, park rangers, and residents to improve conditions; volunteers spruced up park through tree planting and trash clean-up
- "Smart" irrigation controllers use 40 percent less water
- Named a "Frontline Park" in April 2011 by the City Parks Alliance for urban park excellence, innovation, and stewardship
- In addition to the universally accessible playground, the boathouse is wheelchair accessible
- Public buses stop at the entrance to the park; sidewalks extend to the park from surrounding neighborhoods
- Regional Santa Ana River Trail — a multi-use biking, walking, and jogging trail along northern end of park — connects to trails leading to the Pacific Ocean and, in the future, the San Bernardino Mountains
In the 100 years since the Olmsted Brothers wrote their 1911 plan for "worthless land" on the edge of a quarry, Riverside's flagship Fairmount Park has gone from premier community park to a center of crime and neglect to a recognized example of excellence in urban park planning and plan implementation.
Garden of the Gods Park
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Visitor center entrance to the 1,323-acre park is located at 1805 North 30th St.
Garden of the Gods attracts visitors from all 50 states and 60 countries who come to hike, bike, climb, and ride horses. Located on the western edge of Colorado Springs, the park was a gift to the city in 1909 from the family of railroad executive and Colorado Springs resident Charles Elliot Perkins. The only restrictions were that the land be used as a free public park, that no buildings or structures be added except those necessary for maintenance, that alcohol not be permitted in the park, and that the name not be changed.
A designated Department of the Interior National Natural Landmark for its illustrative geology, the park sits at the junction of three ecosystems: Great Plains grasslands, Southwestern piñon-juniper woodlands, and mountain forests. Dramatic-looking rock formations in the park show the majestic formation of the Front Range Mountains from the Great Plains and offer views of Pikes Peak less than 10 miles away.
In 1995 Lyda Hill, a philanthropist and businesswoman who owned the land east of the park, proposed a public-private partnership that resulted in a new visitor center being located just outside the park on her land. Since it opened, the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center has contributed more than $1.6 million for park maintenance and educational activities.
Ecological and cultural history
- Retired biology professor Richard Beidleman notes that the park is "the most striking contrast between plains and mountains in North America" with respect to biology, geology, climate, and scenery
- Between Garden of the Gods and neighboring Pikes Peak, the area has 300 million years of geologic history; red sandstone formations most striking
- Dinosaur species Theiophytalia kerri found in the park in 1878; studies of the skull in 2006 reveal it to be a new species; named for the park and discoverer
- A honey ant never before recorded discovered in 1879 and named for the park
- Mule deer, bighorn sheep, and fox abound; park home to more than 130 species of birds including white-throated swifts, swallows, canyon wrens
- Historic rock inscriptions, called the "Register of the Rockies," document visitors to the park from the early 1800s; park was a "cultural crossroads" of explorers, gold-seekers, railroad builders, tourists
Master plan, citizen participation
- 1994 park master plan emphasizes conservation, preservation and restoration; park used open, public process to develop plan, which incorporates Ian McHarg's "design with nature" principles and guidelines
- Plan implementation included removing man-made structures and concessions from inside the park, and redeveloping a network of unmarked trails into several core trails to reduce erosion and manage overuse
- Public-private partnership among for-profit Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center, the Garden of the Gods Foundation, and the City of Colorado Springs ensures sustained funds and support for maintenance
- Volunteers with Friends of the Garden of the Gods and the Rocky Mountain Field Institute provide thousands of hours of park maintenance each year
- Local mountain biking group helps keep unauthorized trails from being created and used
- City's most visited park; attracts more than 2 million visitors a year
- More than 15 miles of trails; popular for hiking, technical rock climbing, road and mountain biking, horseback riding
- A 1.5-mile trail through the heart of the park is paved and wheelchair accessible
- Annual events include two summer running races, recreational bike rides; inaugural U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge Prologue held in park (2011)
- Park includes Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site (admission charge), a living history farm and museum recounting life and times of pioneers, early settlers
- 20 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs; accessible by car, bicycle, and bus (with bicycle racks); two bus stops located 1.5 and 1.8 miles from park entrance
In 1859 surveyor Rufus Cable came upon the inspiring landscape that is now the crown jewel of Colorado Springs's park system and proclaimed it "a fit place for the gods to assemble." Twenty-seven years later legislation was introduced in Congress proposing that the area be made the nation's second national park. The bill would have been approved had the land not been privately owned at the time, making it ineligible.
Located in downtown Indianapolis where four streets converge — East and West Market Streets and North and South Meridian Streets.
The outer perimeter of the space is ringed by a series of large buildings, some dating to 1857, which give the 4.5 acres that make up the Circle, surrounding roadway, and inner and outer sidewalks a strong sense of enclosure.
Architects Preston C. Rubush and Edgar O. Hunter are largely responsible for the unique character of the buildings surrounding the Circle. Their designs for the Art Deco Circle Tower at 55 Monument Circle, the Columbia Club at 121 Monument Circle, and the Circle Theatre at 45 Monument Circle redefined the public space, changing its character from a collection of small, Victorian-era buildings to distinctive 1920s office buildings.
The Circle is a natural gathering place for the city, says Emmis Communications President and CEO Jeff Smulyan. Visitors can find exercise classes and strawberry festivals, and more than 100,000 attend the annual lighting of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Monument Circle was the place where residents spontaneously gathered following the Indianapolis Colts' 2007 Super Bowl victory.
- Area inside of Circle Street named "Governor's Circle" in 1827 when the governor's mansion was built — but never occupied — on the parcel surrounded by the Circle
- In 1867, City Council orders the Circle to be graded and benches and sidewalks added; renamed Circle Park
- Soldiers and Sailors Monument, dedicated in 1902, is first such memorial in the nation honoring the common soldier; added to National Register of Historic Places in 1973
- 1922 city ordinance allows buildings on Circle to rise 150 feet provided top 42 feet are stepped back one foot for each three feet in height; step-back principle included in city's first Central Business District Ordinance (1964)
- Monument part of Washington Street-Monument Circle Historic District; added to National Register of Historic Places in 1997
- Indianapolis Monument Circle Idea Competition announced in March 2011; the international juried competition solicits ideas for design, land-use, programming and activities taking place on the space during next 30 years
- State Capitol building is located in direct view from Monument Circle from its inception
- Soldiers and Sailors Monument, made from Indiana limestone, is 342 feet in diameter and 284 feet tall; at top is an allegorical statue portraying Victory, nicknamed "Miss Indiana"
- Inside the base of the monument is the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum, dedicated to the city's fallen servicemen and women
- Monument Circle used as a model for the Indianapolis flag, represented as a white star in the middle of the flag's red circle
- Pools of water on the base of the monument's east and west sides contrast with the grand stairs on the north and south sides
- Four bronze statues honor former Indiana governors William Henry Harrison, James Whitcomb, and Oliver P. Morton, and General George Rogers Clark
- Pedestrians on outer ring are separated from vehicular traffic by raised islands containing trees, light standards, planters, and 25-foot-wide sidewalk; a 23-foot-wide inner walkway surrounds Monument's base
Center of culture, citywide events
- Monument Circle is bordered on each side by a distinct cultural district: the State Capitol building on the west, City Market on the east, North Meridian Street, home to several war memorials on the north, and Circle Centre Mall on the south
- Christ Church Cathedral (125 Monument Circle), is the last of the four churches that were located on the Circle during the mid-19th century; built 1857
- Hilbert Circle Theatre, home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, is located in the southeast quadrant of the Circle
- Monument Circle events include the 500 Festival Parade that occurs before the Indianapolis 500 auto race over the Memorial Day weekend
- The Circle of Lights is a nearly 50-year-old annual celebration in which 4,700 lights are strung to the top of the Monument; one of country's largest decorative lightings
Since 1821 when Alexander Ralston laid out the state's capital in Indianapolis and located "Circle Street" in the middle of the mile square plat, Monument Circle has served as the literal and figurative center of Indianapolis. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, designed by Bruno Schmitz of Germany in an international competition, rests at the center of the Circle. Other features include bronze statuary of three former Indiana governors and a general, a grand staircase, and two water pools. There also are striking views of the state capitol building and the city from atop a 231-foot-tall observation tower.
Gray's Lake Park
Des Moines, Iowa
The park is located at Fleur Drive and George Flagg Parkway.
Built in 2000 when an owner wouldn't sell land south of the lake, the bridge completes the lake's circumferential trail and provides the park's best views of the downtown skyline. It's even more dramatic at night when a rainbow of colors lights up the 16-foot-wide pathway and reflects off the dichroic glass panel railings.
Begun as a small oxbow lake on the Raccoon River, Gray's Lake expanded to 100 acres by the 1950s, the result of four decades of sand and gravel quarrying. Those who preferred the area to be used as a recreational park were dismayed by construction of a hotel by the lake in 1959.
Residents continued to call for a park and a city plan recommended that Gray's Lake be set aside for recreation. The plan, together with funding to purchase a portion of the land around the lake, led to the park's creation in 1970. A devastating 1993 flood, which destroyed the hotel on the lake, provided an opportunity to redevelop the area into a more extensive park. Public and private contributions, led by local philanthropists David and Elizabeth Kruidenier, inspired both renovation of the park and hundreds of millions of dollars of development in downtown Des Moines.
Today, trail counts project that more than one million people use Gray's Lake Park each year, whether to eat lunch during the weekday, walk dogs, connect to local and regional trails, attend outdoor yoga classes, or boat and fish. A place for all seasons, Gray's Lake is the crown jewel of Des Moines's park system — the epitome of an ideal public space.
History and planning
- Holiday Inn constructed near lake in 1959 raised concerns that commercial development would prohibit use of the lake and surrounding area as a park; in 1963 Des Moines produces its 1980 General Plan, which identifies area as future park
- Funds secured in 1970 by former U.S. Representative Neal Smith and then-Des Moines Chamber of Commerce President Robb Kelley allow city to purchase land around lake for park; Gray's Lake Park dedicated same year
- Gray's Lake Park's first master plan completed in 1970 by local landscape architects Jon Crose and Associates; firm also develops park's 1997 master plan
- 1993 flood destroyed Holiday Inn and existing park facilities; flood provided impetus for combined federal, state, city, and private redevelopment efforts for Gray's Lake
- In 1998 local philanthropists David and Elizabeth Kruidenier pledged $1.5 million for trail around lake; Weitz Company, a local construction firm, owned one-third of lake that it donated to city; Polk County, businesses, and individuals also donated funds for park
- First and only park in Des Moines' 73-park system to have dedicated maintenance staff, including seasonal trail ambassador; first and only public swimming beach in Des Moines
- 2011 shoreline restoration work addresses flooding and erosion concerns through grading of steep or eroded bank areas to more stable slopes and planting native vegetation
Serves as catalyst for redevelopment
- Park renaissance began in 2000 with groundbreaking on pedestrian bridge, trail and other improvements; city's 2020 Community Character Plan (1995) acknowledged potential of park to become a "showpiece as part of an exciting gateway into downtown Des Moines"
- Des Moines Park and Recreation Director Donald M. Tripp estimates more than $2 billion in downtown Des Moines projects and developments were inspired by success of Gray's Lake Park redevelopment
- Principal Financial developed Principal Riverwalk downtown, inspired in part by resident support of Gray's Lake renovations
- Gray's Lake Neighborhood Association formed after park renovation, fueled by camaraderie inspired by park
- Catalyst for landscaped medians along Fleur Drive, the gateway into downtown Des Moines from the airport
- Surrounding communities use Gray's Lake as model for their own parks
Community support and activity
- Active community groups, including Gray's Lake Park and Meredith Trail Advisory Committee, ensure park develops with business and individual input
- Individuals, groups, and businesses honored on nearly 3,000 donated plaques along pedestrian bridge
- Volunteers lead canoeing and sailing classes, other activities; also yoga, kite flying, and an annual Carp Fest, which promotes fishing for the species
- Besides lake, the 167-acre park has sandy swimming beach, picnic area, playground; historic concrete silos reminder of lake's quarry origins
- Illuminated trails make park accessible day and night; safety enhanced by extended hours during busy season, free use of life jackets, presence of off-duty police officers
Local, national connectivity
- Just two miles from downtown, Gray's Lake Park's trail connects to 42-mile network of Des Moines trails and more than 500 miles of the Central Iowa Trail System; Meredith Trail (2005), downtown connector, provides access to public transit
- Bike rental available on site
- Planned pedestrian trails along the Des Moines River will connect Gray's Lake Park by way of Neal Smith and John Pat Dorrian Trails to the coast-to-coast non-motorized American Discovery Trail
- Gray's Lake Park part of larger Central Iowa Greenways System, which enhances water quality and the environment, alternative transportation, and community and economic vitality along Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers
The 1.9-mile walk around Gray's Lake is known as "doing the loop," and for some residents it's a daily ritual that even prairie grass burns, trail repairs, and flooding won't stop. Such dedicated use of the park is just one example of how important Gray's Lake Park is to everyday life in Des Moines. The city's best-known and most-visited recreation area, the park has qualities and features that attract visitors regardless of the time of day or season of the year. The iconic, 1,400-foot-long Kruidenier Trail pedestrian bridge over the lake is the park's most distinguishing feature.
St. Paul, Minnesota
The park is bound by North Market Street to the east, North Washington Street to the west, West 5th Street to the north, and West 4th Street to the south.
Initially used to dry laundry or graze animals, the park's first amenities — a fountain and bandstand — were added in the 1870s. Electric lights were installed in 1883 for a visit by President Chester A. Arthur and Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, who traveled to St. Paul to recognize the opening of Northern Pacific's West Coast rail line.
Construction of the historic buildings, museums, and music halls that eventually bordered the park spanned nearly 100 years starting with the impressive Richardsonian Romanesque Landmark Center (formerly the Federal Building) on 5th Street West. Designed by Willoughby J. Edbrooke, it opened in 1902. The luxury St. Paul Hotel, built on Market Street, opened in 1910, and the Renaissance-styled Saint Paul Central Library and James J. Hill reference collection opened in 1917 across from the park on 4th Street West. The last major building to be erected opposite the park was the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, which opened on Washington Street in 1985.
In addition to this construction and the subsequent renovations of the three early 20th century buildings facing the public space, Rice Park itself underwent two major renovations. The first, in 1965, was spearheaded by the Women's Institute of Saint Paul. It was followed by another in 2000 involving several businesses, organizations, societies, and individuals. The result is a remarkable 1.6-acre parcel that brings a little old-world European charm to downtown St. Paul.
- Donated to city by territorial delegate and later U.S. Sen. Henry M. Rice and territorial pioneer John Irvine; referred to as "Irvine & Rice's addition"
- Mayor John Prince added shade trees in 1860; city parks superintendent Frederick Nussbaumer credited with preserving Rice Park's role as a significant public space during late 1800s despite pressures to change the park's purpose as a result of the Federal Courts Building (1902; now called Landmark Center)
- By 1960s park and surroundings endured a period of neglect and deterioration; park renovations begin with Hammel, Green, and Abrahamson design of 1965; activists during the 1970s and 1980s save Federal Courts Building from demolition; major renovation of St. Paul Hotel changes building's front entrance to face park
- The park's centerpiece, a statue and fountain by Wisconsin artist Alonzo Hauser, donated by the Women's Institute of Saint Paul in 1965; referred to as The Source
- 1980 park renovations include replacement of benches and paths; 2000 renovation included redesign of fountain area provide access in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act
- Area immediately surrounding park seen nearly $63 million in development; mixed-use, transit-oriented development involving light rail underway nearby; accessible by several bus routes and within walking distance of many major institutions and venues
Surrounding architecture, sculptures
- Both the Landmark Center, designed by Willoughby J. Edbrooke, and the Downtown Central Library, designed by Electus Litchfield and Charles Soule, are included in the National Register of Historic Places (1969 and 1975, respectively)
- Bronze statues of Charles Schulz's Peanuts characters Marcie, Woodstock, Peppermint Patty (2002); statues of prominent and nationally famous St. Paul residents including F. Scott Fitzgerald
- On the side of the Ordway Center are massive murals, such as the one featuring self-portraits from students at the International Academy LEAP high school
- Newer museums and other attractions nearby along with current area developments provides cultural revitalization to the areas east, west, and south of the park
Local support, activities
- Park maintained by city and Rice Park Association, a citizen group
- Location for parades, marches, and festivals; one of the venues for St. Paul's annual Winter Carnival, oldest and largest winter festival in the country (began 1886)
- Annual Rice Park Christmas tree and lighting; involves tree as tall as iconic Rockefeller Center tree, lit with energy-efficient LED lights; city maintains free ice skating rink one block from park throughout winter
- Live music featured in warmer months including blues, jazz, original compositions
Rice Park is a counterpoint to its busy surroundings. Its period lamps, statuary, benches, center fountain, and adjacent national landmark buildings lend a European feeling to the space. Trapezoidal in shape with two diagonal walkways, the park serves as much as a pathway and shortcut as it does a lunch stop, festival grounds, and outdoor sanctuary. Rice Park has undergone far-reaching changes since its establishment in 1849, when Minnesota was still a territory.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
600 James Robertson Parkway. The park is bordered by Jefferson Street to the north, Sixth Avenue to east, Seventh Avenue to the west, and Robertson Parkway to the south.
Dramatically framing the Tennessee Capitol, the mall has four paths that reveal thousands of features and details about the state and its people. The two outside paths include a 1,400-foot-long engraved granite wall that defines the Pathway of History along Seventh Avenue, and 95 engraved granite discs that make up the Walkway of Counties along Sixth Avenue. On the inside is the Path of Volunteers, two 1,400-foot-long diagonal sidewalks made from 17,000 brick pavers with engraved names of ancestors, citizens, and descendants.
Other features include the Tennessee Plaza, a 200-foot map representing every county, city, town, railroad, highway, and river in the state; a World War II memorial with huge black granite pillars that surround an 18,000-ton black granite globe that floats and rotates on a shallow bed of water; and a 95-bell carillon with some of the largest bells in the world, located on 50 large Greek-style columns that symbolize Tennessee's musical heritage and 95 counties.
Home to numerous local, state, and national events throughout the year, daily visitors use the expansive lawn for frisbee, picnicking, kite flying, or just enjoying themselves. There is always something to see, do, or learn about at Tennessee's Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.
Master Planning, Joint Funding
- Ideas for a park north of the State Capitol suggested by landscape architect Joe Hodgson in 1985 and John Bridges of Aladdin Industries in 1988; idea of a linear park proposed to former Gov. Ned McWherter and his staff in 1989
- City of Nashville adopts a downtown "City Center" plan November 7, 1991, which includes a sketch of an open lawn in front of the State Capitol designed to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Tennessee statehood (June 1, 1996)
- Tuck Hinton Architects hired in August 1992 to lead master planning team, which includes staff from SSOE Engineers and Ross/Fowler Landscape Architects; State Building Commission approves park master plan in July 1993
- $23 million in federal Transportation Enhancement funds used for park; local match is $5.8 million, including brick paver sales for Path of Volunteers; Tennessee 200, Inc. (1993) helps secure funds for mall, bicentennial events
- Mall's long, green lawn provides unobstructed view of the State Capitol; meadow narrows from the southern end to the Court of Three Stars at northern terminus
- Court of 3 Stars (northern end near Jefferson Street) represents the state's East, Middle, and West Grand Divisions. The 95-bell carillon also located at this end of park; plays "The Tennessee Waltz" every hour
- Tennessee Plaza features a 200-foot-wide map of the state, one of the largest accurate renditions of a geographic area ever produced; includes every county, city, town, railroad, highway, and river in Tennessee
- Southern edge of the large map has eight smaller maps, each featuring an informative lesson about the state's geology, early inhabitants, territory, transportation, land cover, recreation, music heritage, and topography
- Rivers of Tennessee fountain inscribed with information about the state's 31 major waterways; trough at base of fountain wall represents Mississippi River
- An outdoor amphitheater made with perrons, or stepped lawns, located in the middle of the park north of Harrison Street
Cultural Activities, Events
- Time capsules from state's 95 countries simultaneously lowered into the ground April 27, 1996; park opens May 31 in time for Statehood Day's 1996 celebration
- Popular Nashville Farmers Market, dating back to 1828, located adjacent to park; includes international food court and ethnic vendors
- Numerous festivals and special events held at the park throughout the year including candlelight vigils, charity walks, country music marathons, annual Tennessee History Festival, 2011-2013 National Folk Festivals
Created to commemorate Tennessee's 200th anniversary, the 19-acre Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park was planned, designed, and built as a concise reflection of the state's geography, history, people, and musical legacy. Tuck-Hinton Architects in Nashville designed the park, modeling the former landfill site after the National Mall in Washington, D.C. They incorporated classic Greek principles as well as Baroque and Beaux-Arts influences into the park, creating a unique civic space that is able to grow, change, and evolve over time.
Fair Park is located at 3809 Grand Avenue.
Scores of activities and events occur here throughout the year, from the State Fair of Texas to the Cinco de Mayo celebration, North Texas Irish Festival, CityArts Festival, and Kwanzaafest.
Located on a former cotton field, the site was initially acquired by a group of civic leaders for an annual state fair, which began in 1886. Renowned landscape architect and city planner George Kessler was later hired by the city to re-plan the site and identify sites for future buildings. Influencing his 1906 plan and design was the City Beautiful Movement, which advocated city beautification through well-laid-out public spaces, tree-lined boulevards, monuments, public art, and fountains — all of which are found at Fair Park.
The other person who played a major role in the design of the park was architect George Dahl. He was responsible for transforming the fairgrounds into the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition, which was designed and built in just over 14 months. The centerpiece of the exposition was the Art Deco-style Hall of State with three-dimensional bas-relief carvings. Leading up to this building is an esplanade with a 700-foot-long reflecting pool. Rebuilt in 2009, the pool now has lights and a sound system for synchronized water, music, and light displays.
To assist the City of Dallas in raising money to restore and find new uses for the park's buildings, the nonprofit Friends of Fair Park was organized in 1986. Since the early 1990s more than $260 million in park plans, renovations, and improvements, including development of a comprehensive park plan, have been made by Dallas and its private partners.
"Fair Park is much more than an assemblage of buildings," notes National Geographic's Traveler magazine. "[It's] a district telling dozens of stories from dozens of cultures."
- Dallas State Fair and Exposition Board of Directors purchases 80 acres for use as the annual Texas State Fair (1886)
- George Kessler's 1906 work, the first formal plan for the park, incorporates buildings within site boundaries; draws on thinking of City Beautiful advocates, including the famous Chicago planner Daniel Burnham
- Dallas selected among competing Texas cities as site of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition, one of six world's fairs staged in the U.S. during the 1930s; Greater Texas and Pan American Exposition held at park in 1937
- Park named a National Historic Landmark (1986)
- Hargreaves Associates produces 2003 Fair Park Comprehensive Development Plan; includes recommendations for physical site, park programs, activities, sources of funding, and management alternatives
- City bond issue (2006) includes $72 million for park repairs and improvements
- Architect George Dahl directs Dallas architects to design, build 26 major buildings in just over 14 months; $1.3 million State of Texas Building (Hall of State) most expensive structure per square foot ever built in Texas at the time
- Other buildings and structures at the park include Dallas Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas Children's Aquarium, Texas Discovery Gardens, Texas Museum of Automotive History, Women's Museum, African American Museum; park has North America's tallest Ferris wheel
- Artists commissioned by Dahl include Lawrence Tenney Stevens, who created sculptures — representing the Confederacy, Spain, and Texas — in front of Centennial building; Raoul Josett designed sculptures outside Automobile Building that represent Mexico, France, and U.S.; Carlo Ciampaglia designed monumental murals on many exhibit halls
- Esplanade is located just inside the Parry Avenue entrance; provides symmetrical processional space with buildings, art, reflecting pool
- Other major areas of park are the Agrarian District, which includes a narrow street with buildings on either side; the organic and natural Lagoon; the Midway is a long spine extending through park and accommodating amusement attractions
- Park has street network; site of 92,000-seat Cotton Bowl football stadium
- Easily accessible from two DART light rail stops (Parry Avenue gate, Martin Luther King Boulevard), cars, bicycles, walking
Community participation, honors, economic impact
- Groups and agencies supporting park include Dallas Park and Recreation Department, Friends of Fair Park, Dallas Planning Department, Dallas Landmark Commission, Preservation Dallas, Texas Historical Commission
- Since 2000 park has received more than 25 honors and awards
- Park events contribute more than $300 million annually to the Dallas economy
Fair Park combines City Beautiful Movement planning influences with the country's largest collection of 1930s Art Deco architecture. "A wonderful place to spend a Saturday afternoon exploring ... art and architecture," says Eddie Hueston, former Fair Park executive general manager. For more than a century the park, two miles east of downtown Dallas, has been delighting millions of visitors. Attractions on its 277 acres include eight museums, six performance facilities, and a major sports stadium.
Maymont is located at 2201 Shields Lake Drive and 1700 Hampton Street and borders north bank of the James River.
The mansion and furnishings, children's farm with domestic animals, and carriage collection are impressive, but what keeps generations of guests returning is the dramatic and varied landscape, described by garden historian Denise Otis as "an anthology of gardens." Unexpected alcoves, waterfalls, and hidden pools provide intimate opportunities for conversation and contemplation while the expansive lawns are natural areas for childrens' field games, family picnics, outdoor concerts, and special events.
Following Mrs. Dooley's death in 1925, the estate was transferred to the City of Richmond. However, no endowment came with Dooley's gift to cover maintenance and ongoing expenses. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, the property showed signs of serious disrepair.
In response, the nonprofit Maymont Foundation was established in 1975 to partner with the city and raise funds for annual expenses and capital improvements. Considered a model for public-private park management, the partnership ensures Maymont remains free and, according to a local newspaper from 1928, "a tonic for a sick heart, a reward for a hard day's work, [and] a stimulus for a difficult morrow."
- The 33-room mansion (1893) is unparalleled example of a Gilded Age ornamental estate; remarkably intact, it was designed in a combination of Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne styles
- Example of traditional American estate in style among late 19th and early 20th century millionaires
- More than 25 original buildings and garden structures preserved since 1925
- Carriage Collection established in 1975 to exhibit period vehicles
- Added to Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places (1971)
- 2011 recipient of Ross Merrill Award for Outstanding Commitment to Preservation and Care of Collections by American Institute for Conservation
- Maymont Foundation has raised nearly $60 million for annual operations since 1975 with City of Richmond contributing 16 percent; since late 1990s capital campaigns have raised $30 million for individual projects
- Project for Public Spaces considers partnership between City of Richmond and Maymont Foundation a model of public-private park management; foundation autonomous in most park planning roles except major capital improvements
- Foundation raises funds (more than $2 million annually) through an annual fund campaign including individual, corporate, foundation, and government contributions; special fund raising events like Vintage Maymont Wine and Lifestyle Auction; an affinity groups like the Maymont Council (conservation, preservation and restoration projects), the Dooley Noted Society an active group of young professionals; and the Adopt-A-Living-Thing program, which raises funds through "adoption" of animals at Maymont
Varied landscapes, detailed gardens
- Original amenities include Italian and Japanese Gardens, Maymont Mansion Ornamental Lawn, and Via Florum Garden, a walkway of flowers between Maymont Mansion and Italian Garden
- Italian Garden (1910), designed by prominent turn-of-the-century Richmond architects, features classic elements such as pergola, fountain, pool, urns and a hillside setting; used local Petersburg granite, Maymont's bedrock
- Unique Italian Garden pergola: constructed of 52 hand-hewn granite, not wood, columns; adds rustic texture to a typically refined garden detail
- Original views from Italian Garden of James River now obstructed by protected riparian buffer; views during winter months reveal dynamic vista
- Gardeners Muto and Zuki developed Japanese Garden (1910) as traditional strolling garden; impressions change as one walks through the space
- Japanese Garden renovated in 1978 by Earth Design, Inc. with classical elements of gardens in Kyoto, Tokyo, and Nara; features koi pond, trained and pruned trees and shrubs, water areas, bridges, stepping stones
- Grotto, rare example of its type among U.S. gardens, built in 1911 from actual cave formations; restored in 2007 by 1772 Foundation grant
- New additions include Cactus Garden, Carriage House Garden, Daylily and Daffodil Display Garden, Herb Garden, Jack's Vegetable Garden, Marie's Butterfly Trail, Native Virginia Landscape, wetland habitat
- The Dooleys' "magnificent tree collection could not be duplicated in 100 years," declared the director of Brookgreen Gardens in 1982
Community attractions, events
- Attracts 500,000 visitors yearly; fee-based tram, carriages inside estate complement trails; North Trail bike route connects other riverfront sites
- The Robins Nature & Visitors Center (small fee for nature exhibit), wildlife habitats, and Children's Farm dedicated to native Virginia species
- Annual events include X-Country Festival with sporting events, concert and performance series like the Richmond Jazz Festival and On Stage @ Maymont, Maymont Flower & Garden Show, Herbs Galore and More, Family Easter, and Old Fashioned Christmas.
Minutes from downtown Richmond is a striking Gilded Age mansion surrounded by 100 acres of undulating lawn, thoughtfully designed and manicured gardens, and an arboretum with 200 species of trees from six continents. Estates on this scale often remain in private ownership and closed to the public, but Maymont continues as its original owners Major James and Sallie May Dooley intended: an extraordinary gift to Richmond for all to enjoy freely.
Point Defiance Park
The 702-acre park, bounded on three sides by Puget Sound, is located at 5400 N. Pearl St.
Shaping the history of the park, which juts dramatically into the Puget Sound six miles northwest of downtown Tacoma, has been the community's unwavering commitment since its inception. The city successfully lobbied the federal government in 1888 to repurpose the site from a military reservation to a park. By 1905, residents convinced the government to give the city title. Two years later voters approved a taxing district to pay for park maintenance.
A primarily mixed conifer forest, with old-growth trees — some believed to be older than 400 years — cover more than two-thirds of the park, making it one of the largest undisturbed forests of its kind in Puget Sound. Deer, fox, and bald eagles are plentiful, while scenic viewpoints and saltwater beaches offer chance sightings of whales and seals.
Volunteers representing varied interests and cultures regularly cultivate and maintain the park's eight gardens, while others help care for the natural areas by helping remove invasive species and assisting with trail maintenance. Easily accessible by car, bus, bike, and ferry, Point Defiance Park attracts an estimated two million or more visitors each year.
100 Years of Planning
- Metropolitan Park District, a taxing district created in 1907 for maintenance and development and since renamed Metro Parks Tacoma, still manages park
- Kansas City-based landscape architectural firm Hare & Hare created first formal park plan in 1911
- Following the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration worked extensively in the park; still in use are restored buildings from Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Nisqually
- Proposals to attract Sea World and cut part of the old-growth forest for a steam train as well as revitalizing Funland, an old amusement park located on the grounds, were all rejected by the community in the 1970s
- The Metropolitan Park Board president upholds policy requiring park changes to come from community, focusing instead on the park's natural features.
- 1995 Forest Management Plan and 2010 Forest Stewardship Plan focus on sustainable stewardship of park's old-growth trees earning Metro Parks' Forest Stewardship Council certification.
- In 2008, three day-long charrettes were held to garner public opinion and ideas for a Concept Development Plan for the three main areas of the park — waterfront, attractions, and forest
- A planning process was begun in 2010 to refine waterfront concept plan and develop a master plan for that area
- Tacomans appealed to President Grover Cleveland in 1888 to repurpose Point Defiance from a military reserve to a park; in 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt signed legislation giving city full title to park
- Park's first superintendent, Ebenezer Roberts, asked schoolchildren in 1895 to donate rose clippings to start a rose garden; today gardens have expanded to include iris, dahlia, fuchsia, and more; volunteers contribute time and plants
- Citywide 2005 Park Bond Program provides $5.5 million to improve Point Defiance Park; projects include restoration of the Pagoda, trail maintenance, soil decontamination and converting mowed turf to habitat plantings
- More than 1,500 citizens have engaged in the park's 2005 Park Improvement Bond planning since the process began in 2008
Diverse Landscapes, Activities
- In addition to old-growth forest with 450-year-old Douglas fir (Mountaineers Tree) are 250-foot vertical bluffs exposing rich geology
- Groups and individuals regularly gather at the park for picnics, weddings, organized runs, and other special events
- Saturday and Sunday mornings Five Mile Drive outer loop closed to cars, giving pedestrians and cyclists free rein in park's most popular destination
- Off-leash dog exercise area; fee-based attractions include Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
History and Culture
- Torii Gate, Shinto Shrine are gifts from Kitakyushu, Japan, Tacoma sister city
- Fort Nisqually Living History Museum interprets the Puget Sound's 19th century past as a Hudson's Bay Company trading post and area's first non-native settlement; the two original buildings are National Historic Landmarks
- The 1914 Pagoda, once a streetcar station and now an event facility, reminds visitors of the park's early days; undergoing an estimated $3 million restoration following 2011 arson fire and slated to reopen summer 2012
- The 1898 Lodge, built as the home for the park's first superintendent and his family, now used as rental facility.
- Poems from local residents adorn Owen Beach's concrete promenade
- Life-size bronze statue of Francis Cushman, Washington state representative when Park deeded to Tacoma in 1905, greets visitors to the park
Described by one Tacoma resident as having "the beauty and adventure of a national park within minutes from home," Point Defiance juxtaposes urbanity with wilderness, and scenic views with volunteerism. Authors of the park's original 1911 master plan noted that the area's vistas were "as beautiful as views over land and water as can be seen in this or foreign lands" and found the mountainscape "toward the great Olympic range with its snow-capped peaks glistening in the sunshine ... to be equal to view[s] in Italy and the Mediterranean."
RiverWalk extends along both sides of the Milwaukee River from the harbor in the Third Ward District north through downtown to the former North Avenue Dam.
Initiated by former mayor John O. Norquist in 1988, the planning and development of Milwaukee RiverWalk involved a partnership between the city and property and business owners along the river. Gary Grunau led the business community's support, which was essential because public access along the walkway is granted through easements.
Residents, including children, played an important role in helping plan and design RiverWalk. More than 200 students explored the Milwaukee River and made drawings of what they discovered. The result was 18 pieces of artwork being selected and cast in bronze medallions located throughout the length of the Riverwalk.
Other public art includes the "Bronz Fonz," a statue of Henry Winkler who starred as Fonzie in Happy Days, the popular television sitcom set in 1950s-60s Milwaukee.
The pride residents have for the RiverWalk and everything it has done to improve downtown and adjoining neighborhoods is unmistakable. RiverWalk designer and landscape architect Ken Key has an explanation: "The more you can do to make people feel that this is about connections, the better."
Extensive planning, mayoral leadership
- Discovery of 1904 sketch of downtown esplanade by architect Alfred C. Clas, combined with former Mayor John Norquist's inspiration from San Antonio's river walk, leads to plan and design for Milwaukee RiverWalk
- RiverWalk Initiative launched, design guidelines created, and overlay district adopted 1988-1993; 3.1-mile walkway constructed between 1994-1997
- Hydraulic operated center-lift (to 24 feet) pedestrian bridge built at Highland Avenue; only bridge of its kind in U.S.; 16 feet wide, cost $2.8 million
- North Avenue dam removed as part of RiverWalk initiative
- Goal of RiverWalk is to increase public access and stimulate commerce; property owners and city form Business Improvement Districts (BID) to manage construction and maintenance of RiverWalk
- City uses state's Public Trust Doctrine (1787 and 1972), which places all lakes and streams in Wisconsin for the benefit and use of all citizens, as legal basis to establish RiverWalk; RiverWalk Development Fund, RiverWalk Site Plan, and Overlay District comply with doctrine
- Tax incremental districts (TID) formed to leverage private development investment; tax increment financing also used to fund environmental cleanup and public improvements along river
- Funded through public-private partnership involving $25 million from city and $10 million from property owners; city contributed up to 70 percent of the cost to construct walkway in exchange for public easements across private property
Innovative design, catalyst for city revitalization
- Uniform design in way finding design, signage, logos, public art features used to maintain look and identity of the RiverWalk
- Walkway links businesses, theaters, and neighborhoods and spurs development; RiverWalk contributes to $712 million increase in commercial and residential investments — more than 50 percent growth from 1998 to 2002
- Milwaukee RiverWalk District's 20th anniversary was September 2011; walkway receives multiple design awards, recognition
- $4.7 million worth of modifications underway to ensure RiverWalk to be 100 percent compliant with ADA standards by 2012
Milwaukee RiverWalk was planned as a down-to-earth public space where residents could take peaceful walks, dine outdoors, and access the river for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. It has been more successful than anyone involved with the unique public-private initiative ever imagined. Construction of the $35 million pedestrian-only walkway, which has one of the most innovative bridges found anywhere, increased the value of adjoining property by more than $500 million. Removal of a dam at the northern end of the walkway, a cleanup of river pollution, and wastewater treatment improvements have enhanced water quality and helped restore fisheries to the river.