City in a Park: A History of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park System

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City in a Park: A History of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park System
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By James McClelland and Lynn Miller

    "In our gridded city of brick and stone, we take solace from the open spaces—the burst of azaleas along the Schuylkill River, the water fountain in Rittenhouse Square, the quiet repose of Laurel Hill, the ghosts of the Centennial Exhibition. Encyclopedic in its reach and thoughtful in its composition, City in a Park unfolds the history of Philadelphia’s expansive, sometimes surprising municipal park against the backdrop of recent and ongoing grand renewals. It reminds us of the treasures we have in our shared back, front, and side yards."

    —Beth Kephart, Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River and Love: A Philadelphia Affair

Fairmount Park is the municipal park system of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It consists of more than one hundred parks, squares, and green spaces totaling approximately 11,000 acres, and is one of the largest landscaped urban park systems in the world. In City in a Park, James McClelland and Lynn Miller provide an affectionate and comprehensive history of this 200-year-old network of parks.

Originated in the nineteenth century as a civic effort to provide a clean water supply to Philadelphia, Fairmount Park also furnished public pleasure grounds for boat races and hiking, among other activities. Millions today travel to the city to view its eighteenth-century villas, attend boat races on the Schuylkill River, hike the Wissahickon Creek, visit the Philadelphia Zoo, hear concerts in summer, stroll the city’s historic squares and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and enjoy its enormous collection of public art. Green initiatives flower today; Philadelphia lives amidst its parks.

Filled with nearly 150 gorgeous full-color photographs, City in a Park chronicles the continuing efforts to create a twenty-first century version of what founder William Penn desired: a “greene countrie town.” 

  • Hardcover
  • 568 pages
  • 8" x 10"
  • Publisher: Temple University Press (December 1, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439912084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439912089
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