Designed nearly two centuries ago, it served as a parade venue during the Civil War.
Photographed by Benjamin Williamson
Unfurling in the shadow of the State House, this stately riverside park is said to be Maine’s oldest landscaped public ground. Designed nearly two centuries ago, it served as a parade venue during the Civil War and was leased as farmland for a few years after. In 1920, the late Frederick Law Olmsted’s sons were hired to give the space some of the pizazz their dad had brought to New York City’s Central Park. As the Olmsteds’ designers laid out gravel paths, gardens, and stretches of lawn to accommodate public gatherings, they were careful to preserve long rows of majestic elms — which nonetheless died of Dutch elm disease a few decades later, replaced with red oaks in the ’80s. The firm’s original plans also included a zoo, but funds ran short. Today, most animals prowling the park are political ones.
If you can name this park, submit your answer below. We’ll feature our favorite letter in an upcoming issue — and send the winner a Down East wall calendar.