Wyman Park Dell

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Baltimore, MD
United States
Wyman Park Dell

Bounded by North Charles Street and the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Wyman Park Dell is a component of the larger Wyman Park, although the physical relationship between the two is not readily apparent. The parcel was originally part of the estate of Charles Carroll, which Samuel Wyman purchased in 1839. The land was given to Johns Hopkins University in 1902, with Carroll’s “Homewood House” to serve as the university’s faculty house, and the remainder of the estate subsequently donated to the City of Baltimore as a public park. In 1904 Olmsted Brothers prepared a report for the development of Baltimore’s public parks, which included the 194-acre Wyman Park. Much of the park capitalized on the mature vegetation and dramatic topography that flanked the Stony Run stream valley. In contrast, the design for the sixteen-acre, teardrop-shaped Dell (developed by Olmsted Brothers in 1911) comprised a sunken expanse of lawn encircled by a wooded slope, which buffered it from its rapidly urbanizing surroundings. Local stone was used to create dry-stacked retaining walls and grand stairs descending upwards to the surrounding streets. Arcing paths provided access throughout—and sweeping views of—the park.

In 1917 the Baltimore Museum of Art was relocated immediately northwest of the Dell. This, combined with the expansion of the Johns Hopkins campus, further isolated the Dell from the larger Wyman Park. In 1948 Laura Gardin Fraser’s monument to Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson was installed on a plateau to the west of the lawn. Eleven years later the Union Soldiers and Sailors Monument (sculpted by Adolph Alexander Weinman in 1909) was relocated from nearby Druid Hill Park to a plateau on the southeast corner of the Dell. In 2006 Mahan Rykiel Associates developed a master plan for the Dell, which has been partially implemented.