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Fairmount Park

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1812; 1859, James C. Sidney and Andrew Adams; 1867, Hermann Schwarzmann. E. River Dr. (Kelly Ave.) and W. River Dr.
  • Fairmount Park (Richard Guy Wilson)
  • Fairmount Park (Richard Guy Wilson)
  • (Damie Stillman)

Fairmount Park was created to protect the city's water supply and in competition with New York City's Central Park. Roads were laid out beginning in 1859, following plans conceived by James C. Sidney, a British-born landscape architect, and his American partner Andrew Adams. Their scheme provided a framework for the later park and connected the various attractions, such as the park houses including Richard Peters's pre-Revolutionary Belmont Mansion and Lemon Hill ( PH132), which were adapted in the post–Civil War years to serve as public restaurants. Unlike Central Park that was conceived as “the lungs of the city,” Fairmount Park was distant enough to be largely controlled by the elite for their activities until professional rowing captured a larger public. Long before the park was conceived, the mechanical and architectural marvel of the Fairmount Water Works ( PH130) drew crowds to witness its water-powered system pump the Schuylkill's waters to the vast reservoir that became the base for the Art Museum.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Fairmount Park", [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 117-117.

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