568 pages, ~150 colour photos
Fairmount Park is the municipal park system of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It consists of more than one hundred parks, squares, and green spaces totaling about 11,000 acres, and is one of the largest landscaped urban park systems in the world. In City in a Park, James McClelland and Lynn Miller provide an affectionate and comprehensive history of this 200-year-old network of parks. Originated in the nineteenth century as a civic effort to provide a clean water supply to Philadelphia, Fairmount Park also furnished public pleasure grounds for boat races and hiking, among other activities. Millions travel to the city to view its eighteenth-century villas, attend boat races on the Schuylkill River, hike the Wissahickon Creek, visit the Philadelphia Zoo, hear concerts in summer, stroll the city's historic squares and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and enjoy its enormous collection of public art. Green initiatives flower today; Philadelphia lives amidst its parks. Filled with nearly 150 gorgeous full-color photographs, City in a Park chronicles the continuing efforts to create what founder William Penn desired: a greene countrie town.
"In our gridded city of brick and stone, we take solace from the open spaces – the burst of azaleas along the Schuylkill River, the water fountain in Rittenhouse Square, the quiet repose of Laurel Hill, the ghosts of the Centennial Exhibition. Encyclopedic in its reach and thoughtful in its composition, City in a Park unfolds the history of Philadelphia's expansive, sometimes surprising municipal park against the backdrop of recent and ongoing grand renewals. It reminds us of the treasures we have in our shared back, front, and side yards."
– Beth Kephart, Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River and Love: A Philadelphia Affair
"A comprehensive study of the Philadelphia park system, this book will delight readers who approach their understanding and appreciation of the city's parks from multiple vantage points. More than just a vivid and richly illustrated tour through Philadelphia's parks and their historic structures, public art, and institutions, City in a Park deftly covers more than two hundred years of park history, clearly and engagingly explaining the origins, growth, and governance within the city's prevailing and evolving historical and economic context. City in a Park is both an excellent guidebook and a captivating read. Armed with this rich lode of information, readers will find a visit to the park all the more stimulating."
– Bob Thomas, Campbell Thomas & Co. Architects
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Lynn Miller is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Temple University. He is the author of Global Order: Values and Power in International Politics and Crossing the Line (a novel), and the co-author (with Annette H. Emgarth) of French Philadelphia: The French Cultural & Historical Presence in the Delaware Valley.
James McClelland is a freelance writer whose work focuses on the arts. He is Executive Director Emeritus of the Philadelphia Art Alliance and the author of The Martinos: A Legacy of Art, Fountains of Philadelphia: A Guide, and more than two hundred articles published in national magazines.