Washington Park - WI

WashingtonPark_feature_CharlesBirnbaum_2005.jpg
Milwaukee, WI
United States
Washington Park - WI

Landscape Information

West Park

Originally known as West Park, the land was acquired by the City in 1891 and renamed Washington Park in 1900. The initial design by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., included the layout of the park’s circulation network of drives and walks and their integral bridges; the shaping and excavation of the ponds and lagoons; and extensive tree and shrub plantings. Very soon after Olmsted’s initial involvement, the city’s first zoo was added to the park’s design, along with the construction of numerous athletic sports facilities. This included a one-mile horse racing track, lawn tennis courts, a toboggan slide with spectator grandstands, and a six-hole golf course (which eventually was razed to accommodate the zoo’s expansion). Other additions to the 128.5-acre park include the Goethe-Schiller monument (1908) and the Art Deco style bandshell, the Emil Blatz Temple of Music (1938). By the 1930s, the zoo was showing its age, and due to the lack of space to expand, a search began for a new location by 1947. In 1961, the zoo was reopened as the 184-acre Milwaukee County Zoo, which has since grown to 200 acres. The Washington Park Zoo closed for good in 1963.