A giant carrot, a house made of cheese, and barnyard chickens were among the attractions that greeted visitors to the Baltimore Zoo’s new Children’s Zoo when it opened in Druid Hill Park in 1963. “Most children’s zoos are full of fairy tale…

At the edge of the Disc Golf Course in Druid Hill Park where the greens give way to weeds and woods, you might notice a set of stone steps that lead nowhere. Trace their path downward through the wild overgrowth and you can pick out remnants of a…

On August 5, 1948, Mayor Thomas D’Alessandro and other Baltimore City dignitaries came by motorcade to Druid Hill Park for the official opening of the Baltimore Zoo’s new Reptile House. They pulled up in front of a small, yellow-brick building a…

When the first official World’s Fair in the United States – the Centennial Exhibition – closed in Philadelphia in November 1876, the Maryland delegation chose not to abandon their state exhibit hall. Instead, the wooden building described as…

Visiting any zoo in the world today, you expect to find it surrounded by a fence. It might seem difficult, then, to imagine that for nearly a century there was no fence around the Baltimore Zoo. The zoo was open to anyone who visited Druid Hill Park,…

The Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park was established in April 2001 as part of a larger tree-planting effort that supported projects across the Baltimore region. Designer Renee van der Stelt, project coordinator for UMBC’s Fine Arts Gallery, now the…

James Carey originally sold the generous country estate that became Loudon Park Cemetery in 1853. The new owner, James Primrose, built a stone wall with an ornamental railing at the cemetery entrance and enlisted an engineer to map out lots for…

Sudbrook Park is one of only three examples in the country of Frederick Law Olmsted’s “perfect” suburban community. The other two, Riverside in Chicago and Druid Hills in Atlanta, would make him a pioneer in landscape architecture. Frederick…

Designed and built by George Frederick in 1870, the Moorish Tower remains an impressive sight for anyone visiting Druid Hill Park or driving on the Jones Falls Expressway. The structure stands over thirty feet tall with eighteen-inch wide solid…

Built in 1921, Pool No. 2 in Druid Hill Park served the recreational and competitive swimming needs of over 100,000 African Americans in Baltimore. Pool No. 2 measured just 100’ x 105’ (half the size of whites-only Pool No. 1), but proved so…

Established in 1888 as the Druid Hill Conservatory, the Howard P. Rawlings Conservatory has grown from the original Palm House and Orchid Room to include three greenhouses, two display pavilions, and outdoor gardens. In 1874, Baltimore's park…

The Grove of Remembrance Pavilion has stood nestled amongst the trees on Beechwood Drive near the Maryland Zoo for nearly a century. Designed by architect E.L. Palmer, the rustic pavilion’s placement within the Grove of Remembrance is fitting. The…

On the west side of Druid Lake, opposite of the Moorish Tower, stands an imposing statue. At nearly thirty feet from the ground to the tip of the sword, the Wallace the Scot statue strikes an imposing figure. Bearing little resemblance to Mel…

The Superintendent’s House in Druid Hill Park dates to 1872 and was designed by architect George Frederick (who also designed City Hall). It was built using local “Butler Stone” from Baltimore County and has wonderful Gothic decorations…

Today, Roosevelt Park is a quiet, green space with mature trees, playing fields, gardens, a recreation center, and a community skate park. The park dates back to the late nineteenth century when it was known as West Park. In 1920, a year after it was…

Ellicott Driveway was built on top of the millrace that once carried water to Three Mills operated by the Ellicott Brothers near Frederick Road. In the 1800s, 26 gristmills along the Gwynns Falls and others on the Jones Falls and Patapsco River…

Rogers Buchanan Cemetery is hardly famous. Few visitors to the park even know where the cemetery is. Fewer still know the surprising stories of the men and women interred behind the wrought iron fence. But for those who know the history, the cemetery…

Today, from the rise within Riverside Park, established in 1875, a visitor can see the rowhouses and churches of South Baltimore densely packed around the park in every direction. During the War of 1812, this rise, long known as Look-Out Hill,…

The Mansion House, built by Revolutionary War Colonel Nicholas Rogers, has stood in what is now Druid Hill Park since 1801. The house is the third to stand in this location. Originally a castle known as “Auchentorolie,” built by Rogers’…

Carroll Park is Baltimore's third oldest city park and was originally part of the enormous Mount Clare estate owned by Charles Carroll, Barrister in the mid-eighteenth century. The park was the site of Camp Carroll during the Civil War and, in the 30…

For such a small park, this green block on John Street has had a large impact on the history of Bolton Hill. In the early 1950s, a group of local residents organized to establish the park, one of the first "vest pocket" urban parks in the country.…

Officially dedicated on July 13, 1839 and born out of the garden cemetery movement, Green Mount Cemetery is one of the first garden cemeteries created in the United States. After seeing the beautiful Mount Auburn Cemetery in Connecticut in 1834,…

Built between 1914 and 1919, Preston Gardens is a linear park along Saint Paul Street. Few people know that Preston Gardens was once the site of a thriving black community up through the early twentieth century. Black lawyers, religious leaders, and…

With a Civil-War era mansion and a brand new visitor's center, Cylburn Arboretum is bustling with history and energy. Cylburn began as the private estate of Jesse Tyson, president of the Baltimore Chrome Works Company and a successful businessman.…

Designed in 1890 by Charles H. Latrobe, then Superintendent of Parks, the Pagoda, was originally known as the Observatory. While known as the Pagoda because of its oriental architectural appearance, the design was intended to reflect the bold…

As early as the 1840s, a small oasis of green known as Perkins' Spring became a popular destination at the edge of the rapidly growing city. The park's unique value to local residents came from the fresh-water spring that poured out at a rate of 60…

Union Square began as part of Willowbrook, the John Donnell Federal-period estate, which he purchased in 1802 from Baltimore merchant and later Mayor Thorowgood Smith. In 1847, the Donnell family heirs donated the two-and-a-half-acre lot in front of…

Franklin Square Park is one of the oldest parks in the city, with its origins in the estate of Dr. James McHenry, who lived at a home known as Fayetteville located near Baltimore and Fremont Streets in the early 1800s. Born in Ireland, James McHenry…

Harlem Park started as one of the largest squares in West Baltimore, 9 ¾ acres, more than double the size of Franklin, Lafayette, or Union Square. The grounds of the park and much of the land around it had originally belonged to Dr. Thomas…

Since 1857, Lafayette Square has been Baltimore’s height of fashion. Situated atop a ridge in an area once noted for its fine country villas and breadth-taking panoramic views of the waterways, rolling hills and public landmarks of the bustling…