For almost two centuries, Baltimore’s Patterson Park has preserved its historic integrity while serving the recreational needs of an urban population with varied cultural, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. The dramatic geology, topography, and hydrology that define Patterson Park have critically influenced its development, but the park’s real identity is found in its fusion of its historic and natural features.
In 1827, Patterson Park was established by William Patterson, an Irish immigrant and entrepreneur, when he donated six acres of land to Baltimore Town for use as a "public walk." The heart of the early development of the park is found in its western segment, a high, rolling, well-drained site with panoramic views of the harbor and downtown. The historic center of this section is Rogers’ Bastion, a significant War of 1812 landmark. Over the years, the park grew steadily, augmented by four major land acquisitions.
The Olmsted Brothers’ influence occurred after the last land addition. Beginning in 1905, the firm was engaged to design improvements to the eastern side of the park, which was largely devoted to active recreation. In particular, the Olmsted plan designated plantings to adorn and demarcate the various recreational facilities.
In 1997, two hundred trees, representing two hundred years of Baltimore’s history, were planted by volunteers in accordance with a new master plan. The park remains functionally and historically intact and continues to demonstrate both a coherent identity and strong sense of place. Today the park is 115 acres.