Historic image of pavilion before its demolition in 1963

Highland Park Conservancy in Rochester, NY is celebrating Monroe County’s March 8 approval of the Children’s Pavilion Reconstruction Project. This project is the culmination of a decades-long, grassroots effort to replace and restore this important element of Frederick Law Olmsted’s plan for Highland Park.

The pavilion, which was dedicated in 1890 and demolished in 1963, was sited by Olmsted at the highest point of the park. According to Highland Park Conservancy’s website, he planned a magnificent, three-story, open-air, circular pavilion in order to capture panoramic views of the park, with the city skyline against Lake Ontario to the North and the distant Bristol Hills to the South. The pavilion, officially named the Ellwanger & Barry Memorial Pavilion, quickly became known as the Children’s Pavilion— the crowning glory of Highland Park.

The Children’s Pavilion Reconstruction Project will be funded by Monroe County, Highland Park Conservancy, and the State of New York. Design work is anticipated to start this year, with a construction goal of 2023. An official press release is expected soon. 

This article first appeared in the April 1, 2022, issue of Field Notes by the National Association for Olmsted Parks.