Originally called West Park, Washington Park in Milwaukee was designed by Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot beginning in 1891-92.
About Washington Park
Originally called West Park, Washington Park in Milwaukee was designed by Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot beginning in 1891-92. Located just outside the city’s limits, the park was soon incorporated into the swiftly developing city. Olmsted had anticipated that the park would help attract new development to the area.
A series of circular roads and walkways looped through the 130-acre park’s rolling terrain. Olmsted’s pastoral design also included the strategic planting of thousands of trees and shrubs and an ample picnic area and a wooden gazebo for musical events. The design’s focal point was a seven-acre lagoon and aquatic garden. By the early 1900s, the park’s lagoon became Milwaukee’s most popular location for ice skating.
Other early additions to the park included a boathouse, a mile-long horse-racing track, grandstands, stables and a zoo. Later, basketball and tennis courts, aquatic facilities, playgrounds and other modern amenities were added.
In 2007, the Washington Park Urban Ecology Center opened a center in the park to serve neighborhood schools with its Neighborhood Environmental Education Project. One of the most historic parks in Milwaukee, Washington Park was added to the Wisconsin Historical Society Architecture and History Inventory in 2019.
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Gallaudet University is a bilingual research university and the world’s premier higher educational institution for deaf and hard of hearing students.
U.S. Capitol Grounds
In 1874, Congress passed an act making Olmsted the first landscape architect of the United States Capitol.