by Christopher Taydus
Originally part of “Auchentorlie”, the estate of Dr George Buchanan, one of the seven commissioners responsible for the 1729 establishment of Baltimore City, Druid Hill Park is a 745-acre urban park in northwest Baltimore with boundaries made up of Druid Park Drive (north), Swann Drive and Reisterstown Road (west and south), and the Jones Falls Expressway (east). After its purchase, the park was inaugurated by Mayor Thomas Swann (later Governor of Maryland) on October 19, 1860. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and ranks with Central Park (begun in 1858) in New York City and Fairmount Park (1812) in Philadelphia as the oldest landscaped public parks in the United States.
Druid Hill Park is home to The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens of Baltimore, and part of the Jones Falls Trail, a hiking and bicycling trail. The southern end of the park was a popular destination for city dwellers for a number of decades. Druid Hill Lake, the park’s most notable waterway, was constructed in 1863 and remains one of the largest earthen dammed lakes in the country. With the advent of automobiles, the park’s many winding roadways became popular with car dealers who took potential buyers there to teach them to drive.
But what does the future hold for Druid Hill Park and its surrounding areas? That was the subject of a discussion by Tom Orth, son of residents Jack & Mary Orth. Tom spoke on the history of the famed Baltimore point of interest, and discussed what the future might hold for the park as well. Oak Crest Now will be featuring the lecture on Tuesday, April 19th. You can see the show on Channel 973 at 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 7:00 PM, 9:00 PM, and 12:00 AM. The show will also be available the following day on www.oakcresttv.com.