Patapsco: Maryland's First State Park, 1907 - 1955
Geoff Buckley and Morgan Grove
In 1907, John Glenn donated 40 acres of land along the Patapsco River to the state of Maryland for the purpose of establishing a state park. Although a state park was not officially established until 1933, the State Board of Forestry - in cooperation with the City of Baltimore, the Municipal Art Society, and a host of private landowners - succeeded in acquiring well over one thousand acres of land to establish a "protection and recreation forest." By 1955, total acreage exceeded three thousand acres. Today, Patapsco Valley State Park extends 32 miles along the Patapsco River, encompassing some 14,000 acres. It is a remarkable and ecologically significant greenspace, located - as much of it is - within the rapidly urbanizing Baltimore-Washington corridor. Using Olmsted Brothers reports and maps from 1904 and 1926, state government and Municipal Art Society documents, newspaper accounts, contemporary photographs, and other archival data, I explore the roots of the effort to establish a "large park" on the banks of the Patapsco River, paying especially close attention to the coalition that was formed to achieve this goal, as well as to the process by which a public park was created from private holdings.
baltimore, city, parks, patapsco