• Stone-lined paths and trees in a newly created park in Lewiston, Utah, 1930s. Courtesy of the Lewiston City (UT) Public Library via Mountain West Digital Library.

     

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    Lewiston (Utah) city park looking towards Main Street, after new stone-lined paths and trees were put in, 1930's
    • Date
    • 1930-1939
    • Description
    • The Lewiston (Utah) city park area behind the LDS Church meetinghouse shortly after new paths and trees were put in (1930's). Visible in the background are a few Main Street buildings: the LDS Church meeting house, the bowling alley, Ben's (or Poulse... more
      The Lewiston (Utah) city park area behind the LDS Church meetinghouse shortly after new paths and trees were put in (1930's). Visible in the background are a few Main Street buildings: the LDS Church meeting house, the bowling alley, Ben's (or Poulsen's) gas station, and the old Theurer's market. less
    • Rights
    • Copyright status unknown. These materials can be used for scholarly and educational purposes. If you have information about an item or its copyright status, please contact the Lewiston Public Library (435) 258-2141.
    • Partner
    • Mountain West Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Lewiston City (UT) Public Library

  • A 1909 plan for a sunken flower garden in Elliot Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Courtesy of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board via Minnesota Digital Library.

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    General plan for the improvement of Elliot Park, plan ""A"", sunken flower garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • Description
    • A plan showing one option for the improvement of Elliott Park, including a sunken flower garden. The plan is found in the Twenty-seventh Annual Report of the Board of Park Commissioners of the City of Minneapolis, after page 90.
    • Rights
    • No known U.S. copyright restrictions.
    • Partner
    • Minnesota Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

  • "Rose Garden at Franklin Park," Boston, Massachusetts, 1930. The Rose Garden is just one feature of the large "rural park" designed by Frederick Law Olmsted as part of Boston's Emerald Necklace of parks. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Rose garden at Franklin Park
    • Date
    • 1930-06-23
    • Creator
    • Abdalian, Leon H., 1884-1967
    • Description
    • Title from item. Abdalian identifier no. 10129. Date from item.
    • Rights
    • No known copyright restrictions. No known restrictions on use.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

  • A cactus garden in Westlake Park, Los Angeles, California, ca. 1895. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library via California Digital Library.

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    Cactus garden area in Westlake Park

After the acquisition of land for a park, one of the first tasks was to plan the layout of paths and plantings. Some sites needed significant grading to achieve the early "naturalistic" ideal of meandering paths with rises and curves so gentle that park visitors would not be distracted from their admiration of the landscape around them.

Depending on the era, path and road planning needed to accommodate pedestrian walks, drives for carriages or cars, and paths for equestrians or bicycles. Care was taken to keep commercial traffic out of parks.

Plantings and gardens were essential to the role of parks as green spaces and fresh air "lungs" for their cities. Depending on their size and purpose, parks might contain flowerbeds, formal or stylized gardens, carefully created pastoral landscapes, arboretums, or even enclosed conservatories.

Many park designers created a boundary of trees and shrubs along the edges of the park to evoke a sense of separation from the city or neighborhood surrounding it.

To get a sense of just how significant the planting effort could be, In the first nine years of the creation of the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California, 155,000 trees were planted over 1,000 acresand that doesn't take into account the shrubs and flowers that would also have been included.