Community Space

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Lake Park, in Worthington, Minnesota, became a stop on the national Chautauqua circuit and was renamed Chautauqua Park. Attendees would gather, camping in tents, for several days of lectures and entertainment. Courtesy of the Nobles County Historical Society via Minnesota Digital Library.

Parks both give identity to and serve the communities around them.

People use them in formal and informal ways, for events that are spontaneous and others that are organized. Parks host concerts, festivals, races, and community fairs. People take advantage of their lovely settings to take wedding photos and to hold picnics; they use the recreational facilities to play sports or exercise. Organizations reserve meeting rooms, balls fields, or field houses for group activities and events. Park and recreation boards themselves offer sports leagues and community education courses.

Frederick Law Olmsted's belief that public parks could serve as meeting grounds for people of different backgrounds and economic means has played out in a rich diversity of ways he likely could not have predicted.