Grant Park - GA

GA_Atlanta_GrantPark.jpg
Atlanta, GA
United States
Grant Park - GA

Atlanta’s oldest park, Grant Park was established in 1883, when successful engineer and businessman Colonel Lemuel P. Grant gifted 100 acres of parkland to the city. The city expanded its limits to the southeast to include Grant Park and the surrounding neighborhood, purchasing 44 additional acres in 1890 to allow room for the new Grant Park Zoo. John Charles Olmsted of the Olmsted Brothers firm was contracted to draw up plans for the park in 1903. During his site visit, Olmsted sketched and photographed the parkland and its context, noting the high quality of the homes in the area but also the monotony of oak trees covering the parkland.  In reaction, Olmsted proposed a naturalistic planting scheme, which carved out glades by thinning the existing stand of trees and replacing it with a diverse understory planting. Olmsted also suggested the park expand Lake Abana to manage storm water and a pedestrian system of sinuous walks separate from the park drives, perhaps the lasting legacies of the Olmsted Brothers plan.

In 1996, a master plan for the park was commissioned, and a citizen group, Grant Park Conservancy, was formed.  Recent efforts have focused on the pedestrian experience of the park as well as stream rehabilitation, including planting along steep banks. The park is included in the eponymous Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.