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Franklin Park, Boston

4.8
#29 of 36 in Parks in Boston
This page serves to educate readers about the history and significance of Franklin Park, Boston's largest park.

Scholars rank Franklin park as one of the triad of great parks designed by America's preeminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted together with Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn/

Franklin Park was championed by Boston's first Irish mayor Hugh O'Brien

( 1827-1895) and it was begun under his first term. Work began in July of 1885 and continued for the next 13 years. The City of Boston Parks Dept spent $1.6 million to acquire 527 acres fronting Blue Hill Avenue. the land was bought between 1881 and 1884. By 1900 the Boston Parks Dept spent $12.3 to landscape and construct the park. Due to land takings for the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital built in 1954 Franklin Park today is 500 acres one square mile in size.

The major addition to Franklin park is the Zoo built on what was planned as the formal entranceway to Franklin Park called The Greeting. The Zoo was built in stages between 1911 and 1930 . Its master plan was prepared by landscape architect by Arthur Shurcliff who also designed several features notably the Rock Garden ( 1930) and Bear Dens of 1912. The zoo was begun under Park Commissioner Robert S Peabody the noted Boston architect for whom Peabody Circle is named, the circular roadway at the Blue Hill Avenue entrance.

Speaking before the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1905 John C Olmsted said that"as an illustration of park designing Franklin Park is probably the best piece of work by Frederick Law Olmsted,"

Franklin Park was designated a Boston Landmark in 1980.

All photographs in this page unless otherwise noted are copyrighted by Richard Heath and NONE can be reproduced without a credit line. Any photograph other than those by Richard Heath CANNOT be reproduced.
Put Franklin Park into our Boston road trip planning website to see other points of interest to visit during your vacation in Boston.
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Franklin Park Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
8 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • The park is composed of 527 acres and consists of 6 miles of roads and 15 miles of horse/pedestrian paths. It is the biggest park in Boston and it has a zoo and an 18-hole golf course. Franklin...  more »
  • This is a nice park in the JP Roxbury and Dorchester part of Boston . Do go there to relax if in the area  more »
Google
  • One of the coolest places I've been to in a long time. Worth going to see anytime you can. Bringing my daughter there today made me feel like a kid again and feeling curious and excited to go around the next corner, is a feeling you can't buy. One of the few feelings you can't buy anymore...
  • LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS PLACE!! Talked about it for weeks after. Recommended it numerous times! And if you get tickets on line you save a few dollars. Feeding the giraffes might of been one of THE most memorable experiences of my life.

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