High Point State Park
The First Public Park Was an Urban Oasis
When Europeans first arrived in America the land seemed limitless. However, by the late 1800s settlements stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific. More people were living in crowded cities and needed an escape from city life. To create such an escape, Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted designed Central Park in 1857. It was the first major public park.
People Followed the Roads and Rails to Parks
The Federal government began to set aside large tracts of land, primarily in the west, as forest preserves in 1891. This space was for recreation and the conservation of timber, wildlife and special landscapes. The railroads first brought sightseers to visit these remote preserves. Visiting parks became more common as cars replaced carriages and paved roads stretched out of the cities and into the countryside.
"It is a scientific fact that the occasional contemplation of natural scenes of an impressive character, particularly if this contemplation occurs in connection with relief from ordinary cares, changes of air and change of habits, is favorable to health and vigor of men . . . "Frederick Law Olmsted
The Value and Care of Parks (1865)
Look at the Land Stretching Out Below
From this mountaintop you can see more than 100,000 acres of protected public lands. These lands preserve unique habitats, historic landscapes and open space in the Delaware River Valley. In one of the most densely populated regions in the United States, this land is a crucial reserve for all that live here.
Parks Were Designed With You in Mind
Early parks were carefully planned landscapes. Buildings were rustic and simple. Scenic roads, trails, picnic areas, overlooks and other features were created to enhance the visitors' experience. At High Point, many of these early improvements were made by the High Point Park Commission and the Civilian Conservation Corps, and are still in use today. The original park plan was designed by the Olmsted Brothers, renowned landscape architects.
U.S. Parks: The First Century
? Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux design New York's Central Park.1860
? Population of the U.S. reaches 32 million. Twenty percent live in urban areas.1864
? Yosemite Valley, CA is reserved as a state park.1872
? Yellowstone, the first National Park, is established.1885
? Niagara Reservation State Park, NY is established.1895
? Essex County, NJ establishes the first County Park system in the Nation.1900
? Population of the U.S. reaches 76 million. Forty percent live in urban areas.1905
? NJ Governor, Edward Stokes, establishes Stokes Forest Reserves.1907
? Stokes State Forest is established.1908
? President Theodore Roosevelt calls attention to the importance of the country's natural resources.1914
? The U.S. production of automobiles exceeds that of carriages and wagons.1923
? High Point State Park is established.1933
? The CCC is established as part of FDR's "New Deal" program.1940
? More than half of all people in the U.S. live in urban areas, and more than half of all U.S. families own a car.