Original Design of Walnut Hill Park
By Olmstead Vaux & Co. Landscape Architects - 1870
On July 18, 1867 Frederick T. Stanley sent the following letter to Frederick Law Olmstead
A Public park is proposed to be laid out in our village on a very beautiful hill comprising some 36 acres now belonging to a company of individuals, who (purchased) it in 1856 for the purpose of locating the reservoir for the water works, ultimately to appropriate it for Public Grounds. A competent engineer is now surveying and measuring the area of ground and showing on his map the location of the reservoir and roadway leading to it. This hill, 150 feet higher than the village and as they are building all around it, will soon be in the center of the Borough. I would very much like to have you come and see it and advise us what plan to pursue in regard to it if you can spare the time. It will require two days time and I want you to spend the night with me as we can talk over the matter. The Co. are unwilling that any other plan but yours shall be entertained in regard to it. Will you be good enough to inform me whether it will be convenient to come and if so how soon as we would like to confirm this fact.
Very truly yours, F. T. Stanley
Timeline Walnut Hill Park, New Britain, CT1856 F.T. Stanley acquires 36 acres on Walnut Hill for the purpose of Constructing a reservoir and ultimately a public park · 1857 Walnut Hill Park Company formed · 1857-62 Walnut Hill Park Company carried out drainage and road improvements on the property. Landscape architect B. Munn, from Boston laid out the first roadway. · 1867 F.T. Stanley writes to Frederick Law Olmstead, asking him to visit Walnut Hill and advise the town. 1869 Resolution passed to purchase land and construct a public park · 1870 Olmstead, Vaux & Company produce a master plan for the development of the park · 1873-74 Work initiated to implement Olmstead and Vaux plan 1876 Trees set out · 1906-07 South side planting and walks installed based on the Olmstead plan. Southeast section practically completed · 1912 Comfort Station constructed · 1913 Appropriations for improvements on top of hill; reservoir turned into wading pool with a pergola and flagpole at other end with broad walks surrounding. Drinking fountains & tennis courts constructed · 1914 Ball diamonds, refreshment house, fountains, grading at summit 1915 Nursery, flowerbeds, triangle improvements, alterations at summit · 1916 Alterations at summit · 1919 Wading pool, Court of Honor built 1920 Grand Street entrance · 1923 Hart Street entrance · 1927 4th tennis court · 1927-28 War memorial designed by H. Van Buren Magonigle. Shelters, wading pool cemented, fountain given by CF Smith · 1928 Rose Garden · 1930 Rock Garden · 1931 Steps and walk from West Main Street to monument completed. Design was by H. Van Buren Magonigle 1939 Darius Miller Music Shell · 1940 Field House · 1964 JFK Memorial · 1970 Charles Hamilton Plaque · 1976 Freedom Grove · 1989 Human Rights Monument · 1996 Walk for Life initiated · 2001 Limestone steps and walk from West Main Street renovated