Schenley Park - Pittsburgh, PA
Schenley Park is a prized and vital attraction that provides an invaluable service to the city of Pittsburgh. It is a large municipal park composed of 456 acres that is located on the eastern side of the urban core of the city. Created in 1889, it is now designated as a historic district by The National Register of Historic Places. The park is named after Mary Schenley, who donated the initial 300 acres of land to the city for public park purposes. The park has become a civic centerpiece and source of pride for the city, and it borders the boundaries of two esteemed academic institutions in the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. As a result, the park is heavily used and provides a pivotal slice of nature for inner-city Pittsburgh while improving the quality of life of its surroundings.
The park features several miles of hiking and recreational trails that wind through both well-landscaped and wild areas. The park's current landscape and visual appearance was the result of much alteration on the city's behalf. In the park's nascent years, the land was mostly barren. Widespread planting and landscaping was implemented to address this and it added considerable character to the park. Now the park is a heavily forested space featuring a diversity of plant and tree species. It is also home to many of Pittsburgh's prized cultural and recreation attractions, even though some have disappeared from the park throughout time. The park hosts the Bob O'Connor Golf Course, which is a full 18-hole public course on rolling terrain. In addition the Schenley Oval Sportsplex is home to a variety of fields and opportunities, including thirteen tennis courts, an all-weather running track, a soccer field, and cross country trails, among others. An 18-hole disc golf course is also located on park property, and it is a popular destination for the activity's growing following. Furthermore, wide open spaces are in abundance such as Panther Hollow Valley, a woodland valley with streams located just minutes from dense city development. Panther Hollow Lake is it's centerpiece and was created artificially in 1909 to provide nature access for urban dwellers. It is also the current recipient of a thorough restoration project to restore and improve its condition, which has deteriorated significantly over time.
Several built structures also serve as park highlights. The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, located on the northern edges of the park, is one of the largest of its kind in the country. Located within a renovated Victorian glasshouse, it has been a park institution since opening in 1893. The Westinghouse Memorial is also a favored spot and is a masterpiece of landscape architecture. The monument, which honors inventor and industrialist George Westinghouse, and its surrounding pond and topography were all exquisitely and privately developed despite its rustic and natural appearance. There are many other things to highlight in the park as well, but all that needs to be said is that Schenley Park is an incredible civic asset to Pittsburgh. The city is not known to outsiders for natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. This park proves that notion wrong and provides city residents with a valuable natural retreat. That is the most significant reason the park has enjoyed its popularity for over 100 years and counting.