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Restoring a Slice of Baltimore Green

Preston Gardens at St. Paul Street in downtown Baltimore, an idea conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted and designed by architect Thomas Hastings.
photo by Jerry Jackson, Baltimore Sun

In the early 1900s, Baltimore Mayor James Preston pushed a plan for a skinny three-block bit of green for the downtown area, just one idea drafted by Frederick Law Olmsted for Baltimore green space in 1905. American architect Thomas Hastings (1860-1929) ended up designing it and the park was dedicated on May 1919.

The green space nearly became parking garages a few year later and during the Depression years its flora faded. By the 1950s, it was the refuge for itinerants and continued to decline, spruced up a bit from time to time by plants contributed by local garden clubs.

Now the Downtown Partnership hopes to restore the little park's design as originally conceived. The organization has just under $900,000 to get the job done--clear away the dead trees and shrub overgrowth, repair the stone staircases and retaining wall, try to get the second fountain working again, sod or plant new turf, add perennials and flowering trees and provide new lighting, always an important element in urban park design.

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October 15, 2019, 5:21 am PDT

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