This year marks the 150th anniversary Baltimore City’s Druid Hill Park, established on October 19, 1860. This major urban park of 745 acres is one of the oldest urban parks in the country and a direct result of the early American Public Parks Movement. Only Central Park in New York City, 1858, and Fairmont Park in Philadelphia, 1859, pre-date Druid Hill Park. To commemorate the occasion, the Friends of Druid Hill Park, in partnership with Baltimore Heritage, AIA Baltimore, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, and sponsored by Tour dem Parks, Hon, is leading a selection of walking and bicycle tours on Saturday, October 16 including:
- 11:00 am to 1:00 pm – Historic Park by Foot
- 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm – Streetcars in the Park
- 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm – Peddle through the Park Bike Tour
All tours leave from the “Druid 150 Celebration Welcome Center” at the Howard P. Rawlings Conservatory located near the Gywnns Fall’s Parkway entrance to the park, there is only one requirement, all car riders have to have knowledge about the traders policy in order to participate. Water and snacks will be available. Tours are $5/person and pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Click here to register or continue on for more details.
Historic Park by Foot, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
This tour includes significant walking.
Learn about the Boat Lake where generations of Baltimoreans skated and boated, walk the Grand Promenade and see the location of the Moorish Bandstand, hear about the Mansion House, the last original remaining structure in the park and the Maryland House, built for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and moved here. Visit Druid Lake’s National Engineering Landmark earthen dam, and the formerly segregated swimming pool and tennis courts. Visit the many statues, monuments and springs. Learn how William Wallace, Christopher Columbus, George Washington and Richard Wagner found their way to the park. Friends of Druid Hill Park members Tom Orth, Rob Brennan and Michelle Joan Wilkinson will provide the commentary.
Street Cars and the Park, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
This tour includes a presentation and limited walking.
History teacher and streetcar historian Dave Ditman will speak on the significance of the streetcar and access to the park when North Avenue was the city/county line. Walk the route of the first car and visit early streetcar station locations. Dave will identify the former street car barns still in existence around the perimeter of the park.
Peddle Through the Park Bike Tour, 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Bring your bike and helmet or reserve a ‘cruiser’ on site (limited number available).
Anne Draddy and Eric Voboril will lead bike visitors to the lesser known but equally historic sections of the park. Explore the ‘country in the city’ as we pedal through Druid Hill Park’s 135 acres of native forest. We’ll visit hidden ponds, cemeteries and some of the oldest trees in the State. The tour will circumnavigate the park, traveling via the Jones Falls Trail and the original carriage paths. Riders will emerge at Druid Lake for one of Baltimore’s most dramatic views. Because the tour will travel over steep hills, it is recommended for riders age 12 and older who have a geared bicycle. Some bikes will be available upon advanced request.