Today, Wyman Park is a complex of highly-contrasting park spaces, half-hearted links, and a variety of associated urban edges. The 1904 Olmsted Brothers report singled out the Wyman Park section with its “old beech trees and bold topography” as “the finest single passage of scenery in the whole valley.”
By 1888, the Wyman Brothers had dedicated a part of their large estate to public uses. The center of the estate would become the new campus of Johns Hopkins University. The school’s trustees subsequently gave the remainder of the land to the City as a public park.
In the 1910s, each section of park received specialized attention from the Olmsted Brothers firm. Although the larger stream valley section was interrupted by railroad tracks and sewer lines, the Olmsted designs treated it as a natural reservation with pedestrian paths and a meandering parkway.
In contrast, the plan manipulated Wyman Park Dell into a miniature version of a signature Olmsted pastoral park. Over the years, indifferent landscaping, lack of additional parkway treatments and large parking lots contributed to the erosion of any sense of connectedness between the two main park spaces.
Some of the Wyman land was sold back to Hopkins in the 1960s. Buildings began to fill in smaller green spaces in the area. Both main sections of Wyman Park remain valuable natural preserves for their surrounding neighborhoods and the city as a whole.
Watch our Five Minute Histories video on this park!