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Report on Proposed Park System for the City of Dayton

Report on Proposed Park System for the City of Dayton, Ohio


Olmsted Brothers, Landscaper Architects

Brookline, Massachusetts

12th April, 1911


12th April, 1911


Mr. J. Sprigg McMahon, Secretary,

            Board of Park Commissioners, Dayton, Ohio.

Dear Sir:

            We take pleasure in submitting through your Board to the people of Dayton our report upon a scheme for a comprehensive system of parks and parkways for the City of Dayton.

            We find the city one of the most rapidly growing and one of the most prosperous of many in one of the most populous and prosperous states of the Union. In population Ohio is the fourth state and Dayton is the forty-third city in the Union. It has increased 36.6 per cent in ten years. There appear to be no unusual natural resources, the exploitation of which has caused this prosperity of Dayton. We must attribute it, therefore, to the intelligence and industry of its people. It is consequently not surprising, though very gratifying, to note the many evidence of a general desire for and appreciation of the usual physical utilities of a modern civilized municipality—the wide streets, the miles of excellent paving, the sewerage system and water supply, the street lighting, the numerous churches, the imposing handsome office buildings and the public library and other public buildings. Since the people of the city have thus, and in others ways, clearly manifested their desire to have the city well equipped for business and convenient and attractive for residence, and since they have spent much in desirable improvements, it will be aidful for them to consider some desiderata that are lacking and some things which could well be improved and extended. Among such desiderata it is our special function to advise upon the subject of parks and parkways.

            That cities should have parks is convincingly demonstrated by the fact that many cities have gone to great expense to provide themselves with parks. To give some idea of what cities comparable in population with what Dayton has now or may reasonable hope of have within a few decades, the following table is presented:

Comparative Statistics of American Cities

Name of City

Population in 1910

Area of City Acres

Area of Parks Acres

Population per acre of parks

Pct. Of park area to city area

Kansas City, Mo.






Seattle, Wash.






Indianapolis, Ind.






Providence, R.I.






Louisville, Ky.






Rochester, N.Y.






St. Paul, Minn.






Denver, Colo.






Portland, Ore.






Columbus, Ohio






Toledo, Ohio






Atlanta, Ga.






Oakland, Cal.






Worcester, Mass.






Syracuse, N.Y.






New Haven, Ct.






Birmingham, Ala.






Memphis, Tenn.






Scranton, Pa.






Richmond, Va.






Paterson, N.J.






Omaha, Neb.






Dayton, Ohio






Fall River, Mass.






Cambridge, Mass.






Bridgeport, Ct.






Albany, N.Y.






Hartford, Ct.






Trenton, N.J.






Lynn, Mass.






Springfield, Mass.






Tacoma, Wash.






A brief study of the above table shows how very ill provided with park area some cities are, but affords no very obvious criterion as to how much park area, and particularly what locations and kinds of parks, a city should have. It may perhaps be fair education from this table that a city having one acre of park for every 50 of population is extraordinarily well of as to park area; that a city having 100 per acre is very well off for parks; that a city having 150 per acre is fairly well off; and one having 200 per acre is decidedly behind the standard; while such cities as Dayton would be the objects of pity, shame or ridicule, according to the attitude of the beholder.

            The above table affords no very reliable indication as to the percentage which the park area of the city should bear to the total area, because some cities include a much larger area of comparatively vacant land than others. Experts appear to have concluded that the park area of a city should amount to about one-tenth of the fairly well built-up area of a city. For instance, Kansas City (Mo.) and Rochester (New York) each have park areas equal to twelve percent fo the total area of the city.

            It appears from the above, that Dayton ought to have had, at the last census, to equal Kansas City in the matter of parks in proportion to population, 971 acres of park area, and in proportion to area 866 acres of park area.

            Dayton has already made some progress in the provision of parks of small size and has laid out some distinctively pleasure drives serving also as ordinary streets. It has five small public pleasure grounds having a total area of 19 acres. As these little parks are located in densely built up portions of the city, it is fair to recognize that they are exceedingly valuable and useful. Nevertheless, comparison with some other American cities included in the above table, which are recognized to have done well in the matter of park area in proportion to population, shows clearly that Dayton is very inadequately provided with park area.

            In determine upon the area for the larger parks and parkways at the present time, it should be remembered, however that it is neither wise nor practicable for a city to provide a proportionate additional area of large parks and parkways each time only that additional territory is annexed to the city nor to add to the area of parks year by year no more than in exact proportion as the population increases. It is far more economical and sensible, at a time when the city is considering the matter of parks broadly and is preparing to borrow a large sum of money for the acquisition of land for a sudden large expansion of its park area, to acquire much more than would be at the time in strict proportion to either the area, population or wealth of the city. It is also more expedient as a matter of municipal administration.

            This course is actually pursued in the case of municipal water supply works, main sewers, sewage disposal works and more of less in other municipal works. It is not necessary to do this in the case of schoolhouses, fire engine houses, extension of water distribution pipes or lateral sewers, because these are easily accomplished in small units. Similarly in the case of small parks and playgrounds it is feasible in some cases, and sometimes financially advisable, to delay the acquisition of some of them until the need of them has become urgent. Such, for instance, might be the case in a suburban neighborhood where houses are comparatively widely spaced so that the number of children is not very great an where they have room to play in their own yards and in vacant lots and where, at the same time, land for a playfield park would be unduly costly. It is always urgent to provide public play such a park. It may not appear necessary to secure playfield parks in the outskirts of the city amid farm fields, yet I may be wise to do so if the price be moderate and the land more of less covered with trees, or if open and so shaped as to be easily fitted for ball games. Boys will go unexpectedly long distances to use such a playfield park, and it is most beneficial to them as a rule to do so, and many people will be pleased to resort to municipal woods on holidays in pleasant weather, even if somewhat remote.

            It will be aidful to a clearer understanding of the park problem to classify them under different designations according to their predominant purpose.

            First, Public Squares, located in densely built up portions of a city. These are usually improved with a view to making them handsome and, as their architectural surroundings make appropriate, they are usually highly artificial and formal in design.

            Second, Public Playgrounds, (or playfield parks). These as their designation implies, are primarily for outdoor play and only incidentally for ornament or to afford pleasure to visitors through beautiful landscape. In some densely populated parts of large cities, some such playgrounds are devoid of trees, grass or foliage of any sort, but, as a rule, it is proper that some portions of them should afford visitors the refreshment due to tress and grass, if not of shrubbery, vines and flowers.

            Third, Small Landscape Parks. The parks of this class have most of their area, or at least their predominating effect, devoted to some sort of natural or artificially created naturalistic landscape features. In such a park there may be preserved a bold ledge or cliff, or a ravine or a graceful valley, or a knoll, or a pond, lake, brook or river bank, or simply a grove of wild trees, or on the other hand, some of these or other natural landscape features may be simulated by the landscape gardener. In some such small parks it may be impossible or inadvisable to attempt to exclude from view neighboring houses and other distinctively artificial surroundings, and the number of visitors relatively to the area of the park may be so great that numerous and broad walks, shelters, playgrounds and other artificial construction may be necessary, hence the design may be more of less formal, yet the aim should be to secure as much breadth of lawn and massive arrangement of trees and shrubbery as possible, because it has been found that breadth and simplicity afford more lasting satisfaction and refreshment to the people than a prevailing effect of confusion and over-elaboration, just as plain food must always be the rule in diet with rich and elaborately prepared food used only occasionally and sparingly by way of stimulus and variety and contrast.

            Fourth, Large Landscape Parks. Parks of this class are devoted more completely to natural landscape, because that is almost always by far the best use large areas of park land can be put to. Broad meadows, extensive woods and open groves with a lake of such extent that people can row upon it with a sense of satisfaction, are the most popular and practical features for a large park, because they afford the greatest amount of refreshment to the majority of visitors and because they are not unduly costly to maintain, since great crowds can use and enjoy them on Sundays and other holidays without destroying them.

            It needs but little study to convince any intelligent and open-minded visitor that the most completely secluded the meadow and other landscape scenes in such a park are, the more natural-looking they will be and the more completely they will contrast with the ordinary scenes of a city or suburban neighborhood and hence the more refreshing they will be, especially to those visitors who are more or less nerve-tired from the constant and unavoidably artificial sights and sounds of city life. The farmer and his family coming to town for pleasure would like the best park with the most artificial, elaborate and costly ornamentation, similarly for instant, to the court of honor of a great exposition. But to the tired clerks, mechanics, factory operatives and all sorts of works in the city and their families it is more delightful to stroll across a broad meadow, or in the woods, or to row on the lake and enjoy the expansiveness and freedom and quietness of the perfected country-like landscape of a large park in which these simple features are amply developed.

            As most large parks are well within the city, or at any rate, in time come to be surrounded by more or less built up suburbs, it is essential to the only justification of their great size, namely, that of providing a sufficient area for broad, naturalistic landscape, that surrounding houses and other artificial features should be excluded from the views in the park. Almost all large parks must include many more or less artificial features intended for the comfort and pleasure of all sorts of visitors, but it would be ruinous to the primary and only profitable purposes of a large landscape park to locate theses artificial features conspicuously in the broad landscapes of the park to make them individually obtrusive and self-assertive. In other works, all parts and all artificial features of a large landscape park should be subordinate to and as nearly possible in harmony with the naturalistic style of landscape.

            If it is desirable to include some natural feature in a small landscape park it is far more important to do so in selecting a large landscape park, and among such features those which are most characteristic of the city are the most important to be about 500 or 600 acres. If the area be very much small the interior landscape, while they may be agreeable, are usually not so impressive as they should be, and one is necessarily too cognizant of the incongruous surroundings.

            Fifth, Parkways and Boulevards. Those are simply pleasure drives that are not in parks. They vary from roads that are not visibly different from ordinary streets, to roads accompanied by strips of lands ape so wide and so important as to be almost small parks. Some include pleasure drives which are very artificial and formal or even symmetrical, others include drives which are informally curvilinear and accompanied by informal landscape on one or even both sides. It would be very convenient, if it were possible, to get the public to distinguish between formal and informal pleasure roads by calling the former only boulevards and the latter only parkways.

            While the primary purpose of both is properly to afford access to or passage between parks, their special attractiveness as frontage for residence lots has caused them to be laid out largely or sometimes almost exclusively for the latter purpose. At any rate, this secondary purpose is of such important that it must be carefully considered in the laying out of parkways and boulevards, But in any case the aspect of the lands on each side of a parkway or boulevard is of vital consequence to the enjoyment of those using it, so much so that is sometimes becomes desirable to go to the expense of providing on one or both sides a special roadway for lot frontage in order to encourage the building of houses with their fronts toward the pleasure drive. It is manifest that parks which contained drives should have pleasure drive approaches and should, as far as possible, be connected by pleasure drives. Yet such parkways are relatively expensive and usually cannot be afforded unless the owners of land through or near which they are to pass, contribute very largely toward their cost, either voluntarily or through assessment for part of the estimated betterment to their land.

            Sixth, Reservations. Many cities, finding that their large parks become more and more crowded with the growth of the city in population and that they become more and more artificialized, partly to provide suitable accommodations for the Sunday and holiday crowds and party through the introduction of monuments, statues, sculptures fountains and other architectural works and formal gardening works, have secured still larger public pleasure grounds, which are often called reservations to distinguish them from more highly improved parks. While large landscape parks are usually several hundred acres in area, municipal reservations are apt to be several thousand acres in area.

            Because the conditions permit of it and because financial consideration usually require it, as well as for the sounder reason that it affords more satisfaction to visitors, these municipal reservations are mainly left in a simple natural condition. Trees may need to be cut to open views or planted to improve the appearance of the landscape; places in the woods may have to be cleared of under-brush and grassed over for the accommodation of visitors, but in general reservations should be as nearly natural in appearance as it is possible to make them. To accomplish this requires a rare ability.

            To the inhabitants of a city surrounded by unlimited rich farming country, a forest is more attractive to visit than an equal area of grass land, but there is apt to be no attractive natural forest available. At most there may be isolated small patches of woods. To develop forest scenery that will look natural under such circumstances is exceedingly difficult and takes a long time. In such a forest it is important to secure variety. Some localities ought to appear very different form others. Usually high or bold points must have distant views. Gentle valleys may well be meadows to contrast with wooded hillsides and to afford secluded interior views. And so on, with scores of landscape details.

            While great municipal reservations would undoubtedly be amply worth what they would cost by affording to city dwellers the most complete contrast with their ordinary life, and thereby the greatest refreshment, it is undoubted the fact that the majority of citizens know little about the, have little realizations of their attractiveness and are not therefore conscious that they want them. Hence municipal reservations are usually provided as the result of influence in city affairs of the few citizens who do appreciate their need, and generally not until after public appreciation of the value of large public parks has been educated by the creation of one of more such parks well deigned and well improved.

            Having thus explained some general aspects of the problem of a system of parks for Dayton, we may now describe a fairly definite scheme toward the accomplishment of which the City can henceforth turn its endeavors.

            It may be premised that some of the sites suggested are so preeminently adapted to their intended purposes that they should be acquired at once, even if the prices of land should be in excess of the ordinary market value or even, if necessary, by condemnation proceedings. Other sites have no very marked advantages other than convenience of location and complete or comparative freedom from buildings and other improvements.

            As it is pretty certain that the acquisitions of some sites will have to be postponed owing to insufficiency of funds for the purpose, it is clear that at least some economy may be affected through taking advantage of competitive offers. It may even be possible to secure offers of money or land from people interested in benefiting particular localities. It should also be clearly understood that in the acquisition of parks no one class and no one section of the city should be favored to the exclusion of others, yet it would be practically impossible with the funds that re likely to be available in the near future to secure an exact equality of benefits to each section of the city.

            Public Squares. Civic Center. In considering the beautification of a city by means of public squares the most important point is to have a centrally located public square in or about which some of the most imposing public buildings shall be located. Such a group of buildings about an open square has come to be called “civic center.” It does not need to be also the business center. In fact it is usually better for the most important business district not to be interrupted or diluted, so to speak, by a large open square.

It is much to be regretted that Dayton is not provided with a public square particularly adapted to the setting off of its principal public buildings. Cooper Parks might be take advantage of for this purpose were it not for the fact that it already has the public library on it and is not large enough o contain additional public buildings.

The problem of a civic center is so complicated with questions which need not affect the main problems of the park system that it should receive separate treatment.

We do not propose to recommend specific sites for a lot of ornamental public squares, party because the various playgrounds, small parks, large parks and parkways will afford a great deal of the benefits sought to be derived form public squares, partly because it is not so urgent that the City should provide public squares at this time as that it should concentrate its possible expenditure upon the large parks and smaller parks and parkways, leaving publics squares to be attended to later, and partly because it would be poor policy to lead people to suppose that any locality which should want one could get it out of the proposed park loan without any direct expense to themselves. The fact is that most ornamental squares are so obviously for the direct benefit of the locality in which they occurs and of such very special and large benefit to the lots fronting on them that they ought to be supplied and improved by the owners of each land subdivision just as Gramercy Square and other squares similar to it were provided in New York and other cities of this country and of Europe. It costs less, and is relatively more beneficial in most cases, to lay out an ornamental square before the lots are sold, or at any rate before houses are built upon them. But if a group of people in a given locality think they would like an ornamental square, let them appoint a committee to study the finances of the proposition. There are examples in the City worth study. Robert Boulevard, Great Miami Boulevard, Burns avenue and Park Street, each with its central ornament planting strip, are really only elongated ornament squares. If lots are worth more fronting on them than on corresponding streets of the ordinary type, it may fairly be attributed to the advantages of an ornamental square. If the increased value is estimated to be enough to pay for a block of land and the houses on the, in a given case, it will be a good argument for proceeding by condemnation and under the assessment for benefits method, or the square can be acquired by purchase and private subscriptions. After being presented free of cost with such a square, it is highly improbable that the Park Commission would fail to improve it.

Public Playgrounds. Until within a comparatively few years, definite playgrounds were provided by cities only incidentally as subsidiary features of larger parks. Attempts to provide them in small parks met with strenuous opposition by the heads of families residing in houses fronting on the park. They objected to the noise and rowdiness of the boys and girls, and to the less pleasing appearance of the playgrounds than that of the usual park ornamental treatment. Latterly, however, it has come to be recognized that, as cities grow in size, it is essential to the proper moral and physical development of its children that they should have playgrounds, where, under adequate technical supervision, the children can develop properly. The idea has been carried out in a rather haphazard and ineffective way, partly because of insufficient knowledge and experience, but mainly for lack of sufficient funds. It must be acknowledged that an adequate number of playgrounds, of ample size, properly improved and properly administered, involved a tremendous expense for land and improvements and more especially for salaries and other costs of maintenance. Nevertheless, thoughtful people are becoming convinced that a very large expense in this connection is absolutely essential to the well being of the community; and, moreover, that it pays amply well in the long run, on the principle that prevention is better than cure. This is not the place for a full elucidation of the advantages of the modern playground. It must be taken for granted that the City must provide them as fast as its finances will permit it to do so.

            We are convinced that while it may be convenient and economical for the city to make a good beginning in the acquisition of playgrounds through the Park Commission and even to utilize its organization for the more or less complete improvement, yet the guidance and control of children in the use of them is essentially much more closely related to the work and organization of the public school system than it is to those of the park system, and therefore, that the School Board should be provided with money for playgrounds. As it will take time and much effort to get the matter arranged satisfactorily in that way and as the whole thing has been more or less an outgrowth of the playfields often provided in parks, it will be best to outline a fairly complete system of playground sites in connection with the proposed park system. As to number of playgrounds, it is obvious that the same reasons that determine the number of schools would apply almost equally well to the number of playgrounds. As to location, it is clear that it would be convenient to have them close to the schools, or as near them as practicable. It would be an economy to utilize the school gymnasia and playrooms and toilet rooms, as well as a room for storage and one for the instructor’s office for a closely connected playground, and also, as has been done in Rochester, and probably in other cities, to use the schools more of less as social centers, of course without interfering with the proper school work. It most cases, however, there is no vacant land of adequate size adjoining the school. Some of the suggested playgrounds have been located tentatively close to or near schools, others have been located further away because a much larger area of vacant or nearly vacant land could thus be secured. From the Park Commission point of view it is less important to have a very small playground near a school than it is to have a much larger one elsewhere, especially if it could be possible to select a large enough piece of level or nearly level ground for baseball, that has been suggested.

            From the Park Commission point of view the aim should be to have a playground bordered on all sides by streets and have at least a fringe of trees and shrubs so as to make it somewhat agreeable in appearance.

            The east section of the city may be considered to extend from Mad River to Wayne Avenue, Woodland Cemetery and St. Mary’s Institute. This section of the City is so solidly built up that there are few opportunities left to obtain land free of buildings for ball field playground within the two-and-a-half-mile circle. Most of the playgrounds in this section must necessarily be small and mainly for little children. The larger of these proposed playgrounds are as follows:

            Irwin Street Playground. This would include a tract of about 28 acres of low level land below the hydraulic canal and belonging to the same company. This tract presents the best opportunity for securing a good sized ball field within the 2½ mile circle at a low cost that exists in the eastern portion of the city. It is 2¼ miles from the court house, but in a thickly settled neighborhood. It is less than a quarter of a mile from the present end of the Third Street car line.

            Schiller Playfield. This would be on a tract of 9.5 acres in one ownership. This tract is the most available vacant piece of land of adequate size for long distance in all directions and should be secured if the price is not too high. It is on a hill and considerable grading will be required to fit it for ball fields, tennis courts and other play. Still, at any reasonable price, it would cost less, including the grading, than other equally large sites in the vicinities which are more or less covered with houses and other improvements. It is unfortunate that rows of lots and houses back on it on three sides. Possible the City can afford to buy out to the street on one of more of these sides at some times in the future, but, meanwhile, it will serve a valuable purpose as a playfield even if not handsomely bounded. It is just outside the 1½ mile circle, adjoins a public school and is near a densely populated section of the City, which is very much in need of such a playground park.

            Haymarket Playground. The arguments in favor of playgrounds in general apply to the section of the city between the State Canal and the Lincoln, the Rankin and the Emerson schools more strongly, probably, than to any other, owning to the very crowded condition of the population in it and to its remoteness from country woods, country roads, river banks, other large playgrounds, or even vacant lots, or pastures, the owners of which temporarily permit children to play upon them. It is true that the Bomberger Playground, in front of Lincoln School, does much for children of the locality, but its grounds are utterly inadequate in extent and are mostly occupied by the fine gymnasium, and the swimming tank, walks and pergolas. We recommend that a large playground be laid out where the Haymarket is and on the adjoining blocks, and that the character of occupancy of the neighborhood be changed to respectable tenement houses. The private land is pretty much covered by houses, but on the whole it does not appear possible to locate a large playground elsewhere in this section of the city where the cost would not be greater. The boundaries proposed are Plum, McLain, Eagle and Richard Street and Wayne Avenue. Its area would be about 7.3 acres, a large percentage of which could be closed. The Wayne Avenue end could be treated ornamentally with walks lined with seats and with trees and shrubs and enclosed lawn for babies and very little children. There could be a shelter hose for toilet-rooms and a bandstand. The rest of the ground would have to be a smooth, hard gravel area for miscellaneous play, and sunken sufficiently to permit flooding for skating. The bordering sidewalks could be separated from the roadways by a parking strip with trees and shrubs protected by fencing and rows of seats. A wading pool and amusement apparatus can be worked in near the shelterhouse. The cost of this playground would probably be so great that it will hardly be wise to acquire it out of the first bond issue. It is unlikely that the value of the land will increase rapidly beyond the usual speculative increase which the City must expect tin most cases of land taking. It is quite possible that the value of the adjoining private lands will increase very considerably with the laying out and improvement of this playground, as it will come into demand for tenement houses for respectable families who will pay a good rent for even the fourth floor rather than go further out form the center of the city. The increased taxes thus received should go far toward meeting the interested on the cost of the playground.

            Franklin Playground. A tract of available land large enough for baseball is to be found at Fifth and Torrence Streets. It would be well to secure this tract for a playground park before it is built upon. It has the advantage of being opposite the Franklin School and will serve a considerable area of the city that is already almost fully occupied with houses. Lincoln Avenue would form a valuable short cut for any one approaching this playground from May Street or Third Street west of Linden Avenue. There are several important factories in this neighborhood, imply an unusual number of children.

            Other small playgrounds proposed for this eastern part of the city, in addition to such as could be located in the suggested parks, are as follows: One between Walnut Avenue and Bainbridge Street sis badly needed, (area 1.4 acres); one on south side of Second Street between Madison and Sears Streets is badly needs, (area 0.90 acres); one on south side of Second Street from Beckel to Terry Streets and half way to Third Street, (area about 1.40 acres); one on south side of May Street and extending to Center Street and from Columbus Street to the grounds of Huffman School, (area 2.50 acres); one south of Ruskin School and extending from Henry to McClure Streets, (area about 0.50 acres); one extending from Carlisle to Fairview Avenues and northward from Tacoma Street, (area about 2.7a); on between Phillips and Floral Avenues from the Argyle to Delaware Avenues, (area about 3.0 acres); has high ground at south end commanding good view over city; one between Charles Street and Anderson Street, north of Jessie Street, (area 3.7 acres). This last is not selected for its beauty but because this is the nearest available land, free of buildings, to a densely populated area along Wayne Avenue.

            In the south section of the city, from Great Miami River to Wayne Avenue, Woodland Cemetery and St. Mary’s Institute, only playgrounds are proposed, in addition to those which may be amply provided in Down River Park and in connection with Spurwood Park, namely: on, triangular in shape, at Brown and Morton Streets, (area 0.60 acres); and one at Jasper and Brown Streets, (area 0.40 acre).

            The north park of this south section of the city is densely populated, but as it lies between the proposed Haymarket and a large playground which can be made by filling at the north end of Down River Park, it is assumed that the population will be sufficiently well provided with playgrounds until such time as the city can afford to create additional ones by buying land covered with building and which will not meanwhile rise very rapidly in value.

            In the southwest section of the city, that lying west of Great Miami River and south of Wolf Creek, a large number of playgrounds and playground parks are suggested because the opportunities are numerous and at the same time not likely to remain available long.

            The new Washington Street bridge connects this southwest section of the city with the proposed Down River Park and especially with the fine great playfield suggested at its north end, which will be only a half mile walk for the boys from the corner of Washington Street and Cincinnati Avenue and only 4½ blocks from the Washington Street electric cars at Longworth or Perry Streets. Down River Park, with its great meadow, will also be closely tired to this southwest section of the city by the Stewart Street Bridge, now under construction. The proposed great playfield park, at the junction of Wolf Creek with Great Miami River, is so very close to the southwest section of the city, and so intimately connected with it by bridges that it is going to be far more used by a larger number of the inhabitants of this southwest section of the city than of the northwest section in which it happens to be geographically located. As soon as a footbridge is thrown across Wolf Creek at Antioch Street, the proposed playfield park on the north side of Wolf Creek at that point will be very accessible from this southwest section of the city. The three woodland parks suggested for this southwest section of the city, Westwood Park, Brookwood Park and Beechwood Parks, are each designed to have fine large ballfield and playgrounds in them. Thus this southwest section of the city would start off with an equipment of seven fine large ballfield playgrounds, in addition to the seven playgrounds suggested below, of which four are in the heart of the existing densely build up community and three are in the southern borders.

            Of these seven one would be on National Avenue between Eleanor Avenue and Basset Street, (area 5.0 acres); one on Fifth Street and extending to Home avenue and from College Street to Euclid Avenue, (area 7.30 acres); one just north of the C., H. & D. R. R. and east of Summit Street, (area 2.8 acres); one just north of the Pennsylvania and extending to Norwood Avenue and between Mound Street and Pease Street, (area 6.0 acres); one on Danner Street between Hanna Street and Richley Avenue, (area 7.0 acres); one on Essex Avenue and south of Miami Street, (area 2.70 acres); and one between Bolander Avenue and Steward Street (extended) and east of Hopeland Avenue, (area 6.3 acres).

            In the northwestern section of the city, west of Great Miami River and north of Wolf Creek, six playgrounds are proposed in addition to that already owned by the city on Great Miami Boulevard. Of these, one would be in Highwood Park; another in Homewood Park, and another in Upriver Park in the fork of the rivers. The latter site is conveniently accessible by Athletic Park Bridge at Ridge Avenue and doubtless there will be, in the course of time, another bridge at Mumma Avenue. Another playground is suggested on the river bend, between Herman Avenue and Emmet Street; another on Wolf Creek, southwest of the D. & U. (Pennsylvania R. R., (area about 8.3 acres) as suggested but should be extended to Deal Avenue if not too costly) and other in the fork where Wolf Creek joins Great Miami River, (area 13.0 acres). This last is a remarkably good opportunity to get vacant land for a playground park only three-quarters of a mile from the center of the city and close to a very large population. As before stated it will in practice be more used by the boys of the southwest section of the city than by those of the northwest section. It will be one0-third of a mile only from Longfellow School when the proposed Miami Riverway has been cut through the Schwind Brewery property, and but a trifle longer distance from Edison School. It is low ground, but will so be filled with ashes and with earth from cell excavations.

            For the northeastern portion of the city, east of Great Miami River and north of Mad River, four playgrounds are proposed, in addition to the big one proposed in Old Channel Park and that proposed in White City Park, as follows:

            River Fork Playground. This is low land outside the dyke at the junction of Mad River with Great Miami River and extends form the Elm Street Bridge to the Webster Street Bridge. A small portion of it is already owned by the City. Some of it, alone the dyke, has been filled nearly to the top of the dyke, but most of it is low and subject to frequent floods. It is covered with quick-growing weeds and some bushes, willows, etc. Its area, allowing for the ordinary width of channel, would be 23.9 acres, but some of this would be take up with slopes subject to flooding, and some would need to be used for a street in continuation of North Bend Avenue. It is only three-quarters of a mile from the court house, and it will be one of the most necessary of the playgrounds to secure because it is reasonably near a large district of dense population for which it would be exceedingly costly to provide elsewhere a ball field or even playgrounds of modest size.

            Michigan Avenue Playground. This tract is on the east side of that avenue and extends two long blocks southward from Ray Street and eastward to Daller Street. Its area is 5.0 acres. It is unfortunately narrow (about 250 feet), but if supplemented by larger fields suitable for baseball this playground will be very useful, as it is in a manufacturing district where there will be more and more children requiring a playground. If the whole would be too costly, at least the portion from Ray to Hart Street should be acquired for the benefit of little children who cannot well go so far as River Fork Playgrounds, or at least not often.

            Leo Street Playground. This is a tract of 16.1 acres on the south side of Leo Street form Baltimore Street to near the State canal, and was chosen because of a rather good block of trees to which is added enough open, level land for a ballfield.

            Mad River Playground. This is a tract of low, level land, about 43 acres in area, lying east of Findlay Street and between Murphy Avenue and Mad River. It is expected that a drive and two walks will eventually be build along the river and that a strip of land will be acquired along the south side of the river. But meanwhile a dyke will be needed along the north side to keep this big playfield from being flooded. It is just outside the two-mile circle, of which the court ho9use is the center, and it is only one block for the streetcar line on Valley Pike. It is of great importance that the city should possess a great level field such as this, to which boys and men can go in large numbers, from a large part of the city, for baseball and other field sports, and this appears to be the best place to obtain such a field.

            Small Landscape Parks. It is hardly possible to define the distinction between small and large landscape parks very accurately since one class may merge gradually into the other as to area and style of improvements. Nor on the other hand is it easy to distinguish some small landscape parks form some playgrounds parks. In a general way it can be said that small landscape parks have less secluded and self-contained and less broad landscape within their borders than large landscape parks, while playground parks have a decidedly large proportion of their area artificialized to fit them for play, putting such naturalistic landscape as they may contain in a decidedly subordinate degree of importance. The small landscape parks proposed are as follows:

Woodleigh Park. The park would extend along the west side of Smithville Road southward from Springfield Pike to Huffman Avenue, omitting perhaps, if too costly, a strip of land northo f Huffman Avenue and west of Smithville Road, one block wide and from three to six blocks long. The west boundary should in a general way follow the base of the steep slope so that trees along it will no obstruct the view from the ridge. Its area would probably be about 131 acres. Throughout most of its length extensive views in all directions would be commanded from the ridge in this park. This tract contains two fine groves besides other groups of trees and includes some land which could easily be leveled for ball playing. It is accessible at the south end by the Huffman Avenue car line, and at the middle is only a little over a third of a mile from the end of the Third Street car line, which could easily be extended to the park. Although the total area of this park may seem great enough to warrant calling it a large park, yet it is so narrow and its landscape effects are so little confined within its area that it may properly be classed and treated as a small park.

Rockwood Park. Some picturesque little groves on somewhat rough, rocky land west of Smithville Pike and about half way between Shakertown Pike and Xenia Pike could desirably be secured for a small or local park if the cost be low enough to be tempting. Including border roads its area would be about 26 acres. It is 2¾ miles from the court house and about ¾ of a mile from the Wayne Avenue car line at Phillips Street and about half that form the Xenia Transit line.

Poolwood Park. Southeast of the State Insane Asylum between Shakertown Pike and Wilmington Pike there are some woods and groves and scattering trees and rough land which would form an attractive basis for a small or local park. Extensive clays pits, some of which contain water, have left most of the land in very bad shape for house lots and, if allowed to become such, the city would find itself, in time, saddled with a bad sanitary problem. These lands ought to be worth very little, being three miles from the court house. By connecting the pools with each other and supplying city water during the dry weather wholesome and attractive conditions could easily be maintained. This can easily be made a picturesque and attractive park. Its area would probably be, including boundary roads, about 80 acres. One end of it would be a block or two from the Xenia Transit line and the other end only a little over half a mile by Wilmington Pike from the Wayne Avenue car line.

Beechwood Park is a tract of land on the west side of Norwood Avenue, about one-third of a mile south of Germantown Pike. The woods contain beech trees, making it one of the most attractive groves in the neighborhood of the city. It is proposed to include some open land west of the grove which can be graded, when needed, for a ball field. It is about 17.5 acres in area and is 3¼ miles from the court house. It is half a mile from the Lakeview Avenue car line.

Brookwood Park is a tract of land on the south side of National Avenue and a half a block west of Mulford Avenue. It is a ridge and slope covered with fine large trees. The brook from Soldiers’ Home Lake passes along its north boundary. It is proposed to add to it, if not too costly, two and a half blocks of open land south of it, in order to secure space for ball games. A further addition should, if possible, be made on the east side in order to secure a proper street boundary. Its area as suggested is about 12 acres. The three-mile circle of which the court house is in the center, passes through it. The Fifth Street car line passes along its north side in National Avenue.

Westwood Park is a tract of land on the north side of Hoover Street a little west of Lyman Street. It is a nearly level tract of about 12 acres, of which half is open and half has old forest trees. It is the only tract of woodland that appears to be available in its vicinity. It is 2½ miles from the court house. The street car line on Kammer Avenue ends a trifle over one-third of a mile from it.

Highwood Park. On the west side of Catalpa Drive, near Salem Avenue, northwest of the city, is an attractive wood lot which, together with some open fields west of it, which will be needed for ball playing, it is proposed should be taken for a park. The contemplated area, including border streets on the three sides where no streets appear to have been dedicated, is about 22 acres. It is 2¼ miles from the court house and is on high ground. The care line on Salem Avenue passes within a short block of it.

Highland Park. This is a tract of land of about fifteen acres, part of which is on the north side and part on the south side of Highland Avenue at a point about one thousand feet east of Catalpa Drive. Beautiful views over the city and also over the open country to the northeast can be obtained from this point, and it would seem desirable to acquire the land for this purpose, though there is sufficient area of comparatively flat land on the south side of Highland Avenue to permit a ball field, which further enhances the value of the tract as a local park. In order to keep the views open it will be necessary to acquire some of the sloping ground to the south, southeast and northeast. The fifteen acres we suggest take this into consideration.

Homewood Park. This is a tract of high, gently sloping land between Summers and Homewood Streets and between Richmond and Grafton Avenues. It is mostly an open field with fringes of trees on the west and south sides just where they are most valuable for shade. It is recommended for a small park because it is as nearly as practicable in the center of the residential district northwest of the Great Miami River and between Wolf Creek and Stillwater River. If not secured soon it is likely to be cut up into streets and lots, the land adjoining it on three sides having already been subdivided, and much of the land for over half a mile west of it having also been subdivided. The area of this tract is about 14 acres. It is only 1¼ miles from the court house in a bee line, but over 1½ miles by the streets. It is about a quarter mile form the terminus of the car line that runs through Monument Avenue and River Street and Salem Avenue to North Avenue. It is less than a quarter mile from the car lien on North Avenue.

White City Park. In following the policy of securing a strip for a drive along both banks of Great Miami River the amusement park known as White city Park is encountered. It is a tract of about 33 acres, more or less, on the east side of the river and between it and the new dyke. It is, therefore, subject to be flooded, but the part where the building are is high enough so it is seldom flooded in summer. The surfaced is gently rolling, but the low spots could be filed gradually with silt brought down the river and accumulated at and near the Steele Dam. It is pretty well furnished with willows and poplars, some of the latter being large and tall. A narrow, cheap, carriage bridge was build across the river at Helena Street to afford access to the park from the Main Street car line, which is about two blocks west of the river. It is unilikely that the land cost much, but considerable expense has been incurred by its present owners for the bridge, for a slight river wall, for a walled swimming tank, and for the various buildings, slightly as they are constructed. It does not appear to be urgent of the city to take over the part of the tract containing the buildings, as it does not seem likely that additional building of large size or expensive construction will be erected on it in the near future, but the portion north of that occupied by buildings ought to be purchased at the same time Upriver Park is bought, as it is an essential part of the river landscape of that park.

Old Channel Park. The excavation of a new and straighter channel for the Miami River as a part of the project for protecting the city from floods left an oxbow bend something like three-quarters of a mile long near North Dayton disconnected from the river. The valley is, however, underlaid with gravel to such an extent that this old channel receives water form the river by seepage when the river is high, and discharges water into the river by seepage when the river is low. The deeper portion of this old channel retains water all summer and is utilized as a swimming pool and boating pond. Much of this old channel, although flooded when the river is high, is dry in summer, while parts are swampy during most of the year. This is not an attractive condition and, if the land can be obtained at tempting prices, it would be well for the city to acquire it, together with an adequate area for ballfields and border streets, and to improve the disagreeable parts by excavating some parts and filling others at least high enough so grass will not be under water for long enough periods to kill it. There are willows and poplars and bushes enough already to make many pretty scenes and more could easily be added where needed. The contemplated area of this park, including border roads is about 86 acres. It is 1¾ miles from the court house, only quarter of a mile form the Webster Street car line, and an interurban line passes through it.

Large Landscape Parks. Only two larger parks are proposed at this time for the City of Dayton, as it is believed more would exceed the financial limitations that are likely to prevail within the next decade or two.

            Although, for convenience, the park problem for the City of Dayton is being considered under the various heads first above stated, it must be acknowledged that the distinctions between the various classes are not, in practice, so clearly marked as might be inferred.

            In fact the two large parks proposed would in part be used for playgrounds, in part for local or small parks, in part, at least for a good many years, as comparatively wild reservations, and even in part as necessary links in the proposed parkway system. It is true, therefore, that part of their anticipated benefits should be considered when playgrounds are under discussion, and part when parkways are being weighted in the balance.

If it should come to a question, because of financial limitations, of postponing the taking of some items of the whole system of parks and parkways herein proposed, the large parks should not be left out, because they will be of far more benefit to the city as a whole than the small parks, or than many of the playground parks or playgrounds.

The large parks are resorted to by people from all over the city. They not only provide for the mass of the people a very considerable amount of the sort of refreshment which the well-to-do seek when they go off to the lakes or sea shore or mountains, or to summer resorts, but they supply various means of amusement and healthful activities, such as walking amid pleasant, varied scenes, picnicking, rowing, swimming, skating, baseball, tennis, croquet and other ball games, grass for the children to romp upon, shallow pools for them to wade in and to sail top boats in, swings, slides, donkey and pony rides and many other delightful and wholesome sports and occupations, amid ampler and more inspiring surroundings than are possible in the smaller parks and playgrounds. Certainly whatever items must be postponed it should not be the large parks.

We have stated, near the beginning, that the parks should be so located and bounded as to take the fullest possible advantage of the distinctive landscape features which characterize the City. These are, of course, the rivers and the hills, the woods and the meadows. It will be seen that this purposed will be accomplished in the following proposed parks.

Upriver Park. This park would include at least the un-built-upon part of White City Park, and the wooded tract well known as Idylwild Park, containing some summer cottages, together with some of the adjoining hill and low meadows. It would extend, in the landscape sense, from the Steele Dam at the end of Miami Boulevard, up the Great Miami River, to the steel trussed bridge at the end of Keowee Street and up to the Stillwater River beyond Highland Avenue, and from the dyke or levee east of the former river to Stillwater Avenue west of both rivers. It would be a remarkably good river park, since it would include two rivers and the land between. It would include also hill, wooded slopes, grassy slopes and level meadows suitable for ballfields.

The south end of this park would be only a little over a mile from the court house. It is only a quarter of a mile from the Main Street car line at Ridge Avenue to Stillwater Avenue which would form the west boundary of the park, and when there is a bridge at Mumma Avenue it will be only half that distance. Much of the east boundary of the park is half a mile form the street railway on Keowee Street, but the river bank portion of the park would abut upon the same street railway at the bridge. A large population in the northwest section of the city would be within easy walking distance of this park. The area of this park, including the rivers and county road where they pass through it, would be about 510 acres.

            One remarkable advantage of this park would be its entire freedom for the noise and smoke and ugliness of steam railroads and almost equal freedom from street railways. Only one public highway, Ridge Road, runs through it, while of another little used one which branches from this one and connects it with the north end of the Keowee Street bridge, only a part would be in the park; the rest would form a boundary road. This park also would have the great advantage of not having factories along its boundary and few factories or commercial establishments of any sort near it. The region west of it is developing into a very good residence district. That east of it is mostly low land, which, if provided with streets, a street railway, efficient drainage and a little filling in low spots, could be made suitable for more humble homes, to the owners of which the proximity of the park would be a great advantage.

            Another great advantage of this park would be that is could be put in shape to be immediately useful at comparatively small expense, leaving a system of pleasure drives, filling of low spots, dredging of the rivers and other such expensive improvements for the future. It would be distinctly a people’s park.

            Downriver Park. This park would extend from the present city sewage pumping plant down the east bank of Great Miami River to the bridge of the Cincinnati Pike and from the river to the State Canal, with the addition of the County Fair Grounds and Sugar Camp Hill property. In the landscape sense it would also include the river to the Miami Riverway West, now under construction. If the National Cash Register Company deems it essential for their purposes to retain a portion of the low land west of the canal, it should be as small an area as will serve, and it should be between the new railroad and the State Canal south of Stewart Street and south of the new railroad bridge over the Canal, and in the latter part in shape a strip along the canal rather than a broader block extending toward the river. This would be important in order to keep open the fine meadow views southward from Stewart Street and northward from Sugar Camp Hill.

            This park would be in effect a great meadow park, although it would have in addition the formalized river as a great feature and the two very delightful high wooded areas, one in the County Fair Grounds and the other on Sugar Camp Hill. When the new river channel has been cut through and dyked, the work on which is now under way, the old channel will remain as very beautiful park lake, well fed by springs, brooks and seepage from the river. The lower portion of the park has extensive and remarkably beautiful tree and shrub growths and is wild and secluded to an unusual degree, because heretofore it has been useless as real estate as it is subject to being flooded. When the dyke has been completed and the storm water flow from the two principal brooks conducted by means of the canal or by conduits to the river, this condition will be remedied in the main. If necessary, still more completely drainage can be effected by pumping while the river is high, but during summer when the park would be most used the water would almost always be low enough to leave the meadows dry. Even under present conditions most of the meadow is dry enough in summer for the existing vegetable garden and ballfields.

            One of the remarkable advantages of this park would be that it would begin only a block over three quarters of a mile from the court house. Even the Fair Grounds are less than a mile form that point. Another great advantage is that it would be within walking distance for a large part of the most densely populated portions of the City, both east and west of the river. Also all parts of it would be accessible for the Main Street car line by a short walk, as that car lines borders the County Fair Grounds portion and also the portion where the car line follows the canal. The Stewart Street bridge over the river (now under construction) will afford access from the district of the City west of the river and it is expected that eventually there will be a park bridge across the river in the vicinity of Carrmonte, which will make the lower part of this park only a trifle over a half mile walk from the street railway on Cincinnati Street Chapel Road.  The area of this park as proposed would be 330 acres, including the old river channel.

            The northern part of this park is burdened by the new steam railroad (Dayton, Lebanon & Cincinnati R. R.) but there is no present indication that this railroad will be a very busy one. Southwest of that railroad, for a distance of a mile and a quarter, this park would be free of railways, except that the electric railway follows the southeast side of the canal for a mile or so. As far as practicable the steep banks above the State Canal should be included in the park and be kept planted with wild woods, and where this is not feasible, as for instance where the slope is owned by cemeteries, an effort should be made to have them kept, or made beautiful with foliage.

            The proposed drive on the east levee will afford ample facilities for the enjoyment of the scenery of this park for some years, but eventually it will be desirable to have another less formal drive more of less embowered in foliage winding in the eastern borders of the park to the proposed bridge and cross drive near Carrmonte and possible form there on the island to an entrance on the Cincinnati Pike south of the existing old wooden bridge. Also, it may be worth wile to have a branch from this east drive rise by a heavy fill to a bridge over the State Canal and Traction lien and thence diagonally up the steep slope and through the west part of the Sugar Camp property to an entrance on the hilly Cincinnati Pike. This would be particularly valuable as an approach to the county Club and would form a suitable connection for all visitors between the Sugar Camp Hill and the rest of the park.

 The particular and great value of this park, it should be emphasized, would consist in its great meadows. It would be difficult to exaggerate the value of such meadows to the mass of the people, since they would not only be large enough for many to play upon at the same time, but they would be within walking distance for the homes of a great number of boys and girls who could otherwise seldom stroll and play ball upon grass. Any one who has observed the meadow in Washington Park, Chicago, or has listened to the enthusiastic comments upon its value by Chicago citizens who car for the health and pleasure of the people, will have become impressed with the immense importance of including such great meadows in the park system of a city.


            Theoretically, there should be boulevards and parkways radiating form the civic center, in or adjoining the central business district of a city, to its great suburban parks, and circumferential parkways connecting these great parks. In addition, there should be an inner circular boulevard, a mile or a male and a half from the center of the business district, and, finally, there should be broad rural parkways extending more or less radially outward form the suburban parks to rural reservations and other points of interest and to neighboring towns. At the intersections of the central radiating boulevards and parkways with the inner circular boulevard would be excellent locations for small parks and secondary civic centers where would be branch post offices, branch public libraries, branch museums, gymnasiums, baths, assembly halls, clubs, hotels and churches, effectively grouped. Party for topographical, for mainly for financial reasons, such a theoretical arrangement has probably never been carried out, although in some cities it has been or is being approximated. The theory may well e kept in mind, however, by those who may hereafter be entrusted with physical development of Dayton.

            As we have said already, in determining upon the proposed parks, the most important thing is to take advantage of whatever characteristic natural topographical features of interest and beauty there may be, and the same motive should influence the location of parkways.

            It is obvious that the most characteristic topographical features of Dayton are the four rivers. The next are the hills, and the next the few remaining patches of woods and lastly the broad, fertile fields. It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that there should be parkways along the river.

            For some years past, the City has been acquiring strips along the banks of these rivers, within the city limits, primarily for the purpose of erecting dykes to restrain them from flooding the low lying parts of the city, and in doing so the city has very wisely paid some attention to the pleasure uses to which the banks of the river very obviously could be put. Rather from limited means, probably, than from failure to appreciate the opportunities thus afforded, there has been as yet no provision for continuous pleasure drives along the river banks. However, considerable progress is being made in this direction in the project now under way for the improvement of the Great Miami River below Washington Street Bridge.

            It should be recognized that these river bank parkways would serve as radial routes of pleasure travel from the heart of the city to the large landscape parks in the suburbs and to other towns. It is, therefore, doubly important that the land needed for them should be secured before it becomes occupied by factories and other expensive private improvements.

            The plans of the City engineer for this great improvement call for an extensive taking of land for the purposed of shortening and simplifying the channel of the river below the line of Stewart Street (extended). This land taking will have a uniform width of 800 feet and will extend from the old wooden bridge of the Cincinnati Pike up to within a few blocks of the Washington Street bridge, a distance of about 1½ miles. A dyke will be raised on each side and the top of each will be made 50 feet wide to begin with, so as to afford space for a drive and walk.

            We recommend that surveys be made and that plans be prepared for a liberal arrangement of pleasure drives on both sides of the rest of Great Miami River and also along both sides of the Stillwater River and, to the extent that existing factories permit, up both Mad River and Wolf Creek.

            The expense of putting these river parkways through will necessarily be large, both for land and construction, and it would hardly be wise for the City to incur all this expense at once. The indications are that the greatest length of most useful river parkway could be secured, (with two exceptions for short distances) by putting through the river parkway along the west side of Great Miami River first. In addition to providing for the drive on the west side there should be a considerable sum provided and at the disposal of the Park Commission to enable them to take advantage of any specially favorable prices for land required for the drive on the east side, and also for the other river parkways, as for instance sales of land for settling up estates or where houses are destroyed by fire or to head off any necessary cost the erections of expensive building on land that must eventually be acquired.

            Although the west side of the Great Miami River seems to be the line of least resistance, a handsome parkway on the east bank of the river would probably increase land values more and would afford more general satisfaction to most citizens than a parkway on the west bank.

            Miami River West. This may begin on the right bank, below the city, near the C., H., & D. R. R. Passing under the Big Four Railroad, the first section may be considered as ending at the Cincinnati Pike.

            The next section has already been provided for, according to plans of the City Engineer. The extension of the drive and walk up the river will involve, in order to provide the desired width between the dykes for floods, the acquisition of various scraps of land most of the way from Avenue St. Frances to near Third Street. Bank Street and Edgewater Avenue will serve thence to Wolf Creek.

            An old steel, trussed girder bridge will be erected across Wolf Creek. A taking of land will be necessary to extend this parkway to Salem Avenue. A valuable brewery blocks the extension of the parkway from Salem Avenue to Monument Avenue Bridge, but, temporarily, River Street will afford a reasonably satisfactory connection. The lands east and south of River Street and Lehman Street and the river bed should be acquired, when convenient, but, temporarily, pleasure driving may follow the two streets mention to Main Street Bridge.

            Next above Main Street and close to the bridge there is a large apartment house. It has been suggested that the Riverway could be built outside of this on a concrete floor supported on piers so as not to unduly contract the flow of the river when in flood. This would interfere with one of the arches of the bridge, would involve a similar construction for some distance below the bridge, would involve removing a good bit of the parapet of the bridge, thus spoiling its symmetry, would force pleasure driving to cross a disagreeable sidewise slope and would, from most points of view, look like a botch in design, besides being costly. We recommend that the City acquire the now vacant land behind the apartment house and eventually move it back, at the same time taking off so much of the porches and other projections on its front as it may be necessary. Between Linwood Street and Stillwater Avenue, part of a block of land will have to be taken. From Stillwater Avenue and Emmet Street, the Riverway may follow the present dyke straight to Herman Avenue, or, what would perhaps be better, if suitable arrangements can be made with the land owners, the parkway might be run on a curve to Herman Avenue. The latter arrangement would be the more graceful one and would be a great improvement by ensuring good frontage for houses on the high level, but would cost more or filling. The land between the curved parkway and the present straight dyke could be left for private owners to fill and sell in lots, or it could be acquired by the City and be used for a playground. If the parkway follows the straight line, the land outside could be moderately filled on a gentle slope, over part of which the higher floods could pass with little or no damage, and be used for a ballfield. The fact is that a playground will not be very urgently needed at this point, if a larger one is provided just across the river. The question may therefore be determined by a comparison of the estimated cost of the alternative projects.

            From Herman Avenue to Steele’s Dam some subdivided land will have to be taken if the normal width of the river and the roads on each side of it is to be maintained. It would be best to take it on the east side of the river. If it is likely to be troublesome and expensive to take the required land, the necessary width for the river could probably be secured by walls. To get a good line, a small land taking would be necessary at Hays Avenue. For the same reason, land will have to be taken between Locust and Helena Streets.

            Stillwater Avenue will serve well enough thence to the City Boundary, although it may eventually have to be widened.

            Miami Riverway East. As before stated this parkway has already been provided for from the old wooden bridge of the Cincinnati Pike up to within four blocks of Washington Street bridge. In this part, and also northerly to Carrie Street the narrow road on the dyke previously built should be widened and straightened and, if practicable, a planting strip should be secured between the drive and the new railroad (Dayton, Lebanon, & Cincinnati R. R.)

            On each side of the railroad bridge land would have to be taken to continue the river drive to Backus Street and some narrow takings would be needed to obtain sufficient width and a good alignment along the east side of that street to fit the Fifth Street bridge, as well as to keep up the 800-foot width for the river and the drives on each side of it adopted for the improvement below.

            From Backus and Maple Streets to Monument Avenue, it will unquestionably be necessary for financial reasons to postpone for some decades the lay out and construction of the river drive. It is obvious that the pleasure travel can be sufficiently well accommodated by Robert Boulevard. It will be important, however, to keep close watch on real estate along the line, to prevent, as before suggested, costly private improvement from being put in the way and not to lose good chances to buy land needed.

            From Monument Avenue bridge to Main Street bridge somewhat similar conditions prevail. It is important as a matter of design to have a gently curing drive along the river, but the land is expensive and many private interest are involved. Hence pleasure traffic will have to follow Monument Avenue for some years. This is less attractive than Robert Boulevard as a pleasure drive because it has a car line upon it and is straight and city like. Here again needed land should be secured as opportunity offers, and expensive private improvements on needed land should be blocked.

            From Main Street bridge to Webster Street bridge Monument avenue and Idylwild Avenue may well serve as the pleasure drive because there is not car track. The City already owns part of the strip of land between the street and the river, but there is a bad obstruction opposite the block between St. Clair and Mill Streets where the Dayton Gas & Coke Company has part of its manufacturing plant. The gas works are already crowed and have no vacant land upon which to spread. It is quite likely, therefore, that before long they could be induced to move to a more commodious site where they could have new up-to-date building, machinery and apparatus. Such a move would no doubt be very advantageous to the Gas Company, and it certainly would benefit its present holding as real estate, as well as much other private property, to get the gas works away and to have a nice park like Van Cleve extended along the river. Considering the increased efficiency and economy of a new up-to-date plant and the necessity for more room for enlarged production and the increase in value of their site south of Monument Avenue the Gas Company would very likely afford to give the land which they own north of Monument Avenue to the City for park purposes, in return for the lease for a few years of such adjoining land now owned by the City as they may have immediate need for. At the same time the Gas Company should agree that their new works should not to so located as to interfere with any proposed park, or where they would depress the value of real estate which one of the proposed parks might otherwise enhance in value. 

            From the Webster Street bridge to White City Park the continuation of this river drive would be an easy matter so far as land and construction are concerned, but an effort should be made to rearrange the land subdivision between Webster Street and Elm Street so threw ill be good, deep rectangular house lots with suitable restriction fronting on the river drive.

            The City’s fire engine house at the Main Street end of Van Cleve Park should be removed eventually. The junction of Idylwild Avenue with Monument Avenue should be eased off. It would probably pay at some future time to relocate Idylwild Avenue nearer the river so as to obtain a row of lots, backing on the State Canal and fronting on the river drive. A row of houses there would tend to shut off the factory district on the other side of the canal. It would also be advisable in time to replace the present narrow Webster Street bridge by a wide concrete bridge on concrete arches. There should be double roadway with car tracks for a new line on Webster Street, then along the present levee to Hull Avenue, through that and its extension to Ewing Street and then through a new diagonal street to a new highway bridge connecting the southwest boundary road of the proposed Old Channel Park with the county road north of the river.

            Wolf Creek Parkway. Many of the property owners in making subdivisions along Wolf Creek provided either narrow streets or alley along the river bank. Of late years the City has raised levees or dykes along the river, the tops of which are usually high than the streets and alleys, often sufficiently so to shut off the view form the streets or even from houses. To remedy this defect and also to provide adequate drives and walks along both sides of the Creek will be expensive, but certainly should be done, sooner or later. The sides of the dykes toward the Creek have generally been pitched with large stones. If land takings prove too expensive it will be possible, eventually, to build retaining walls for the walks and drives in place of these pitched slopes. But this would be very expensive and a questionable improvement in appearance. To put the river in a covered conduit would also be expensive and might involved taking a large area of land somewhere up the Creek to properly control the floods by a storage basin and to secure a proper head. On the whole, it seem likely that it would cost less and be much better to condemn as much land on each side of the Creek as is needed for boulevards of proper width on each side and to raise the connecting streets and as much as need be of the private land.  Although expensive in first outlay for the City, the elope of the City would gain a handsome, double parkway, a large area of land would be so directly benefited by the parkway and by being raised, that it could stand a liberal assessment and the greater taxes subsequently collected from the lots thus increased in value and form the better class of private improvements which would follow would very likely meet the interest on so much of the cost as had not been recovered by assessments for benefits. It would not be necessary to go into the matter heavily all at once. Needed land could be purchased from time to time, especially west of Summit Street, on each side of Broadway and at the end of Sweetman Street. Arrangements should also be made, before further improvements occur on adjoining land, for moving Western Avenue from Kammer Avenue westward, wherever necessary to leave room for an entirely separate parkway along the river’ because Western Avenue is an important radial rout for business wagons and connoted be absorbed into the parkway nor can the parkway be merged with it, with due regard for pleasure driving. As a partial alternative it may be possible to move the creek sufficiently to secure the desired result near Hoover Street, but near the River Road bridge the Pennsylvania Railroad is so close that the creek cannot be moved and therefore the county would have to be.

            Miami River Parkway. Both for the purpose of enabling adequate arrangements to be made for the control of the floods in Mad River, as well as to make opportunity for an enjoyable pleasure drive to Woodleigh Park, to the circumferential parkways and to the proposed Water Works Reservation up Mad River, it is very desirable to take the borders of Mad River wherever possible, from the Great Miami river up to the Water Works Reservation, but without interfering with the essential parts of the Hydraulic Canal and dam. Owing to the existence of building which it would be too costly to interfere with at present, no taking can be made on the north side of Mad River from Webster Street to the east end of Ohio Street. From this point to the State Canal only a narrow taking is feasible. Consequently it is proposed to have only one pleasure drive along Mad River. This would leave the Miami Riverway east at Webster Street bridge, would follow the south bank of the river to Findlay Street, where it would crosses to the north side. It would cross the river again at the point where the Erie Railroad crosses the river. A branch drive would connect this river drive with the north end of Woodleigh Park, it appears to be desirable to have, eventually, a viaduct crossing above all the railroads. It would not be possible for a long time to incur the large expense this would involve, but careful surveys and plans should be made in order to secure the needed land at present prices. Meanwhile, it will be a simple matter to cross the railroads on grade. Except from Webster Street to the east end of Ohio Street it will be possible to take a sufficient strip of land for a levee and bank to be covered with trees and shrubs, on the opposite side of the river from the drive. With the slope between the drive and the river also planted this can be made a landscape parkway. It is true there are several large factories along the route and because the land is low and a good deal of it vacant and because of the railroad facilities there are likely to be a good many more factories, especially on the south side. This advantage can be much alleviated by taking a wider strip along the river east of Thomas and Bimm Streets than would be needed for the drive alone, so as to provide for a separate boundary street with a wide planting strips between it and the pleasure drive. For the same reason it would be best to take all the land between the feeder of the State Canal and the river and also all the land between the Erie Railroad and the river east of the line of Irwin Street (extended).

            Aside from the river parkways there appears to be no possibility, at the present time, considering financial limitations, of laying out any wide radial parkways or boulevards in the City of Dayton. The following routes through streets are suggested as the best that could be done at moderate expense in the way of providing radial lines for pleasure travel in addition to the proposed river parkways.

            Third Street Boulevard. In choosing among existing streets the one which would best serve as a direct boulevard form the central residential section of the City eastward to Woodleigh Park, it appear that Third Street had, on the whole, the greatest advantages. It runs straight from the court house to Sperling Avenue, a distance of two and a half miles. It can easily be extended from there to Woodleigh Park, a distance of one-third of a mile. It has sufficient width for practical requirements from the center of the City to where Springfield Street branches from it, a distance of almost one and a half miles. Although fairly wide it is burdened by double street railway tracks, The expense of widening the last mile would probably be prohibitive. Recourse must therefore be had to the physical improvement of its details, if it is to be made attractive for pleasure driving, and the traffic upon it should be perfected by making it of asphalt on a solid cement concrete base. Before this improvement is made, however, the wires should be put under ground, any new larger water pipes, sewers and drains, including all house connections that may possibly be needed, should be installed, the electric railway should be rebuilt in the most perfect modern style, including the heavy girder rail with small groove, and the trolley poles should be of steel and of neat design, combined with the lighting. New, uniform curbing, not over 6 inches high and well rounded street corners, with steel protection, should be laid. Ample tree pits, regularly spaces, should be provided beyond the business distract and these should have neat steel gratings. The sidewalks should be paved uniformly. It will probably be impracticable to maintain turf tree strips west of Springfield Street but where it is attempted, crosswalks should be provided and low guard rail set up to protect the turf. The lights should be combined with the trolley poles. Ornamented street signs, preferably an illuminated pattern, should be attached to corner trolley poles. Where building can be utilized for the purpose the trolley wires and streets signs and street lights could be attached to them, in the business section, where there are to be no trees. The profile and cross section should be perfected and the catch caseins made uniform in pattern and adequate in number and size. Fire hydrants should be in the adjoining cross streets. Occasional drinking fountains of the self-washing mouth piece type should be installed. If one or two of the sharp points at street intersections can be turned into little parks, with underground toilet rooms, it would be a good thing. The extension of Third Street to Woodleigh park might well be given special character by being made wide enough for two driveways with a central grass plot between. A circle with a monument in it at the intersection with Sperling Avenue would be desirable to make the turning point. A few blocks at the center of the City might well have some special, decorate electric lighting. Additional alleys should be laid out where needed, so there would be no necessity to permit business wagons to stand in the street. In regulating traffic on the boulevard, the main thing would be to keep out business traffic as much as possible. East of Springfield Street, there would be no need to allow any, except to cross. West of that point it might be confined to the north side of the roadway, if the shady side be preferable for pleasure traffic. If a law can be obtained for the purpose, it would be well to enforce certain restrictions on adjoining private property, such as a building limit line or a set-back, which could vary on different blocks to save disturbing most of the houses; and limiting the height of buildings and preventing houses for more than one family on portions of the street where the owners of a majority of the frontage so desire. Of course billboards and excessively large or ugly signs should be prohibited or heavily taxed. The street cars might be painting a dark handsome color, and in monotone.

            Xenia Boulevard can be formed mainly of existing streets. It would serve in a large measure as a radial boulevard and to some degree as an inner circuit boulevard. It would be distinctly radial from Wayne Avenue outward and distinctly circumferential from Perry Street to Wayne Avenue. Its chief function as a whole, however, would be to connect Down River Park and Miami River East with the south end of Woodleight Park and the outer circuit parkway. The route proposed for Xenia Boulevard is as follows:

            Leaving Miami Riverway East and passing between the playground portion of Down River Park and the main body of the park, it would follow Apple and Adams Streets, would cross a block to and follow Xenia Avenue, and would cut diagonally across a block to Bickham Street, would pass under Pennsylvania R. R. by a subway already authorized and, with a couple of easy bends, would cross Huffman Avenue east of Garland Avenue, would bend around parallel with Huffman Avenue and on block from it, and would connect with drives in the south part of Woodleigh Park. Without a liberal widening, the cost of which would obviously be prohibitive under existing conditions, this route would be a boulevard in little more than in name. The possible improvements, the cost of some of which could be assessed on abutting and nearby property benefited, would be a building limit line, which would have to vary in distance from the street line and some parts of which could be made, for economy, to apply to future buildings or altered buildings; a narrowing of the roadway for the purpose of providing a parking strip of sufficient width for trees; a uniform, smooth, hard pavement on its roadway, a uniform sidewalk, cluster of electroliers, improved street signs, the putting of all electric wires underground, a neat uniform low curb, a smooth, hard brick gutter, suitable catch basins and liberally rounded corners.

            No doubt a portion of Adams Street would have to be widened and possibly other parts of the route could be widened without exorbitant expense.

            Special funds would have to be provided for special care of the turf and trees in the parking spaces and for special cleaning and repairs of the driveway and sidewalk pavements and for policing to prevent business wagons from using the driveway except to get to and from houses not provided with alleys to the nearest cross street and then only during certain hours.

            It is to be noted that Xenia Avenue although radial is not necessary for business traffic, as there are other radial avenues close by which serve that purpose very well.

            If it should be feasible to keep street railway tracks off of Xenia Avenue, it might be necessary to revert to the Loraine Avenue route, which would have advantages, especially that of utilizing the wide and attractive Park Avenue. Loraine Avenue ahs the disadvantage that it is narrow and might have to be widened to make room for the required parking strips and that it would certainly have to be extended, immediately, across private property to connect with Apple Street at one end and Bickham Street at the other. It is possible that the owners of lots along Loraine Avenue might make so much better terms for these improvements than the owners of lots along Xenia Avenue as to make the former the preferable route for a boulevard.

            National Avenue attracts attention as a desirable route for a radial boulevard in the southwest section of the City in connection with Home Avenue and Norwood Avenue. Plans and estimates were prepared, not long ago, for the needed connection between Home Avenue and Norwood Avenue, across the three intervening blocks, but were not executed. As a reasonable part of the park boulevard system, it would be best to go to still greater expense to make this proposed connecting street wider, and at the same time to secure a liberal building limit line.

            National Avenue is not a city street. It was laid out by private parties and opened as a toll road to the National Military Home Grounds. Having become unprofitable, it was bought by one of the street railway companies, which will not permit it to be taken over by the City as a public street unless it is granted a perpetual right-of-way on it at its own terms. The City, on the other hand, is unable legally to grant such a right. Until the street is so taken, the City cannot regrade, curb and pave it with public funds nor under the assessment plan. The street railway company would be glad to have the street paved as a means of encouraging the growth of population along it. Under the circumstances, it would seem possible to have a law passed authorizing the City to make a suitable contract with the street railway company.

            Failing in that, the City through the Park Commission should condemn the whole thing for a parkway or boulevard and lease the track and right-of-way for a term of years to the same or another company for a suitable percentage of the gross receipts.

            The City would doubtless get the worst of it financially—cities usually do in such cases—but after acquiring control the improvements could be assessed on the land benefited, and before many years the increased taxes and the railway rental would probably more than pay the interest on the cost of acquiring the boulevard.

            At the same time, a suitable building line should be secured by condemnation, and alleys should be provided wherever needed, so no business wagons would need to be permitted to pass along the boulevard. Building limit lines should also be secured on Home and Norwood Avenues.

            Woodleight Parkway. The banks of the Hydraulic Canal from the Springfield Pike down to Sperling Avenue have become embowered with trees, and the walk along the canal is so charming that it would be desirable, if it can be arranged without too much expense, to acquire a strip along each side of the part of the canal for a rural parkway. On the north side a border street should be arranged for, to fit the land below the canal bank and trees. On the south side a pleasure drive and two walks should be provided for. Sperling Avenue, widened, if possible, would afford a connection with Third Street Boulevard and, if extended, with May Street and Fifth Street.

            Hydraulic Canal. The owners of this power canal, it is understood, do not contemplate with satisfaction the future of their investment, after they shall have disposed of the remainder of their land not actually required for the canal. They are under long term or perpetual contracts to supply water to a comparatively few concerns, and the income from that source is too small to be worth while. They would, it is understood, be glad to have the City, through its Park Commission, condemn its land and business at a price to be agreed upon and settle with the takers of its water, for the purpose of turning its canal into a parkway. A good deal of the canal is, however, in a strip of land too narrow for a parkway, and most of its west of Irwin Street is situated in the midst of backyards and unattractive buildings. A parkway on its land would have to be extended to Second Street, at Meigs Street, at large expense. To make even a fairly satisfactory parkway of it, would involved taking at least one tier of lots and houses along most of the canal for about a mile and a half—a practically prohibitive expense. Even if this were done there would be along most of one side of the parkway the rears of houses backing on the parkway or with their sides to it, with views of rows of backyards. ON the whole, it appears to e less advantageous than the proposed parkways along Mad River, although it must be acknowledged that the neighborhood of that parkway may not be all that could be desired in the way of attractiveness.

            Circuit Parkways. The proposed circumferential system of parkways, as planned, would afford a continuous drive around the city and would connect all the proposed parks in the suburbs. More specifically, it would connect Upriver Park with Old Channel Park, would extend thence to the Leo Street Playfield, would continue thence to the Mad River Playfield, would coincide for three quarters of a mile with mad River Parkway, and would connect this with Woodleigh Park. The drive would continue along the ridge in this park to Huffman Avenue. The parkway would then extend to and along the little Rockwood Park and to and along Poolwood Park and thence to Spurwood Park. From this park it would continue south of Oakwood, north of Carrmonte, to the State Canal, connect with Hills and Dales on the way. At the State Canal it would pass into the proposed Down River Park and connect with Miami Riverway East. Eventually it would cross the river between the Stewart Street bridge and the old wooden bridge of the Cincinnati Pike, but for many years the pleasure driving would have to cross the river by the latter bridge. From the Cincinnati Pike the parkway would extend westward to Beechwood Park and thence to the southeast corner of the National Military Home Grounds. Gettysburg Avenue, and along the east side of those grounds, may be utilized. There may be, eventually, in addition, a drive through those grounds. From the northeast corner of those grounds, the parkways would extend to and along Westwood Park, thence to Highwood Park, then through Fairview (subdivision) and thence easterly to Upriver Park, crossing Stillwater River by a proposed bridge between Norman Street and Highland Avenue.

            This system of circumferential parkways lies mostly between the two-mile and the three-mile circles, of which the Court House in the center. It will not only connect the principal parks and the National Military Home Grounds and the various river parkways and radial boulevards, forming a connected system of pleasure drives such as few cities of the country possess, but it will also afford a great amount of valuable residence frontage and enhance the attractiveness and therefore the value of a number of extensive residence districts which would otherwise probably remain without any feature to life them above the commonplace.

            Reservations. The City should have some reservations, if it is to have a complete system of parks, but it is not going to be easy to get money for them. Nevertheless, it will be well to have the possibilities in mind, so as to be able to make such progress as can be made, with due regard to a reasonably well balanced system.

            Stillwater Reservation. The most advantageous direction in which to look for a large reservation is up the Stillwater River:

            First, because a reservation there would be most convenient to the two most important residential sections of the City: namely, that between the river and the State Canal and north of Sixth Street, and that between Stillwater River, Great Miami River and Wolf Creek.

            Second, because, in driving to it from those important sections of the City, there would be no steam railroad to cross and no disagreeable manufacturing or tenement house district to pass through.

            Third, because it would be approachable by the parkway which has the greatest landscape advantages and at the same time can be put through form the southwest and south sections of the City, in useable shape (except at two points) at a comparatively moderate expense. The parkway referred to as Miami Riverway West. Incidentally, it may be noted that drivers on this parkway going in either direction would be able, with one exception, to enjoy the views without the annoyance of looking toward the sun in the afternoon, when most pleasure driving takes place. The exception would be in driving west from the east end of Emmet Street to Salem Avenue.

            Fourth, because the reservation could begin close to the City than in any other direction; namely, at about 2 ¼ to 2 ½ miles from the Court House.

            Fifth, because it could be a harmonious and intimately connected extension of one of the two largest proposed parks—Upriver Park.

            Sixth, because it is free from the disagreeable proximity of a steam railroad.

            Seventh, because it would be within a reasonable five-cent fare limit, if the Main Street car line is extended about a half a mile to it.

            Eight, because it has greater landscape advantages than any other.

            If it were possible to make use of it as a source of underground water supply for the City, instead of or in addition to the intended reservation on Mad River, it would be a very good thing for the park system, and for that reason a better investment. If it should not be used as a source of water supply for the City, it is possible that there may be enough water available during dry weather to keep an ornamental lake sufficiently supplied. Small boats could be passed by means of a lock or roller runway to and form the slack water produced by the Steele Dam.

            Mad River Reservation. A considerable reservation up the Mad River has been practically determined upon in order to protect the underground water supply of the City. In defining the boundaries they should be considered in reference to the landscape possibilities and with due regard to their suitability for boundary roads. The proximity, at a comparatively low elevation, of the Erie Railroad and of the Springfield Pike, together with the fact that the valley is under laid with a porous gravel and sand stratum, may make it impossible to create an ornamental lake in this reservation, and even if made, it might fall to low in summer to e agreeable in appearance during that season. The Erie Railroad would be a disfigurement to the landscape of this reservation, which ought to include the slopes north of this railroad, and the noise and of trains would greatly detract from one’s enjoyment of the landscape. The proposed parkways will form excellent approaches to this reservation if they are carried out, but they are so expensive that there is some doubt as to how long it will be before they are ready, if, indeed, they are ever accomplished. The proposed Mad River Parkway, although very desirable is certainly more open to the objection that it will be more hemmed in by factories, and cheap little houses, than Miami Riverway above Mad River.

            Hills and Dales. This private pleasure ground has some advantages as a possible reservation. It includes some of the highest land near the City with extensive and agreeable views. It includes pleasing topography and various delightful woods. It has the great advantage of being largely in one ownership so that it could probably be obtains on reasonable terms. It should be extended in places to the Lebanon Pike and possible also the Cincinnati Pike. In the latter case it would be directly accessible by the Cincinnati, Dayton & Toledo Traction line, and it would be a small matter to extend the Main Street car line to it. It is likely that the Brown Street line would be extended to it on the other side. It is free from railroads, either stream or electric. It has already been considerably improved, so that it would be immediately available, and would not require costly improvement for some time, aside from widening some of the dries. It could be connected without difficultly with the proposed Downriver Park and with Miami Riverway East. This should be done by means of a strip of land of generous width, to include the brook and a drive and walks on each side.


            In conclusion, some remarks on matters of policy may not be out of place.

            It needs no elaborate estimate of areas and value of land required, and estimates of cost of construction for the above park system to enable any one to say at once that the cost will be very great. It is not necessary, however, to know, even approximately, what the total cost will be, because such knowledge would have little practical bearing upon the subject, any more than it would have been necessary for the men who planned the City originally to know how much it was going to cost to complete the City. No doubt it might seem to some people very businesslike and economical for the City to condemn at once all the land needed for the entire park system and proposed and to pay for it by means of a loan, then to levy assessments for betterments and thereafter to improve each part of the park system as required to meet the reasonable demands of the population. The idea simply is not a practical one. A reasonable and proper share of the annual tax levy of the city can be devoted to park purposes, party for maintenance, partly for improvement, partly for direct land acquisition and partly for interest and sinking funk requirements of park loans. A sound judgment as to what percentage of the annual tax levy should be devoted to park loan interest and sinking fund can readily be based upon a comparison of what has been usual in that regard in other somewhat similar cities. As the city grows in population and wealth the amount of money which can be devoted to park work will increase both absolutely and relatively. It will be greatly relatively because some of a city’s expenditures are based much more nearly on population than on wealth; also because even the rate of taxation may properly be raised when more of what people want and are willing to pay for is supplied by the municipality. As between two cities fairly equal in other respects, if one has a public library and branch libraries, a museum of art, a museum of natural history, public baths, public gymnasiums, trade school, public playgrounds, parks and parkways, a municipal band and even (as in many German cities) a municipal orchestra and concert hall and a municipal theatre, people in it will pay cheerfully a rate of taxation directly or by paying higher rent, then they would in the other city without those municipal attractions but with a lower tax rate. It should be borne in mind that public parks and parkways are not the least of these and other municipal undertakings in attracting people, especially well-to-do people, to the city, both for temporary and for permanent residence.

            The financial aspect of the park problem is very greatly complicated by the great number of cases in which there is great danger of losing valuable or even unique opportunities if certain tracts of land are not promptly acquired. In the matter of boulevards an absolutely unique opportunity exists for completely a desirable rout in the case of the extension of Home Avenue to Norwood Avenue at comparatively moderate expense. If a few of the more expensive building which have been recently erected in that vicinity are put in the way the project may be practically killed. Among the playfields suggested it can readily be seen that if certain opportunities are not promptly seized upon they will soon be lost, so far as one can now judge, practically forever. So far as parks are concerned, some of the opportunities which now exist may vanish without warning, almost literally in a day. Such are the small tracts of beautiful woods; for instance, Highwood Park, Westwood Park, Homewood Park, Rockwood Park, and the south end of Woodleigh Park, because their owners may any day order the woods cut down completely, to realize their cash value or partially to open streets through them and let sun in on the lots. In the larger parks, the opportunities are various. At Downriver Park it seems inevitable that the Fair Grounds will be secured by the City for a park. There is not haste about that, but to permit factories or other buildings to get in between it and the river would be shockingly bad management, and that land ought, therefore, to be leased or optioned at once if funds are not available to buy it outright. The portion west of Perry Street presents an extraordinary opportunity to secure a ballground that would be of inestimable value to the dense population within half a mile north of it and a full mile northeast and east of it. Of course, both Upriver Park and Downriver Park are topographically inevitable. The cutting down of trees, while it would be a great calamity from the park standpoint, would not in itself be a sufficient reason for abandoning the idea of taking them, as it might be in the case of some of the smaller woodland parks. As between Downriver and Upriver Park, it does not appear to be important at the present time to strain for the acquisition of land for the former further south than Stewart Street extension, because most of the land south of that is “strongly” held so that an informal understanding may probably be arrived at as to what portions of it may be build upon (if any must be) pending the time when the city will be financially able to pay for it. So, too, in a less degree, are keratin portions of Upriver Park “strongly” held and by parties who have such public spirit that they may be relied upon to hold their land, as at present, until the city can afford to buy it, of course, with the expectation that it is rising in value with sufficient rapidity to warrant holding it. But a study of the City and its vicinity shows that the Stillwater Valley and the ridge east of it is by far the best opporuntiy which the city possesses for a great public park and a beautiful rural parkway. In the first place, the old wealthy residence portion of the city, second, the principal holes, third, the office buildings, fourth, the principal churches, fifth, the principal clubs, sixth, the public buildings and seventh the residential section, containing more pleasure carriages and automobiles, as well as can be judged without extended examination than any other and which is larger than any other, are all more distinctly and agreeably tributary to Upriver Park; that is to say, without the necessity of crossing a steam railroad or of following an electric railway, than to any other of the proposed or possible parks. Therefore it would be more prudent to acquire at least those parts that are most likely soon to be cut up into lots and to be built upon, if the whole cannot be afforded at the start.

            After that it may be well to act upon the principal that the relatively large and prompt expenditure for land acquisition which a bond issue makes possible should be expended mainly in the acquisition of close in acreage property which is partly or wholly covered with trees, and preferably that which is on hills, because the owners of such lands, are liable at anytime to cut down the trees, or to sell the land in house lots. When this last happens, there is almost inevitability a sudden and very large increase in the market value of the property and especially in the cost to the city of acquiring it. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance for the city to obtain control of such contemplated parks promptly. Aside from the above class of cases, there are various minor cases of vacant or comparatively vacant land more or less surround by a region of house lots and houses and which land is therefore indicated as suitable for playfields, small parks or ornamental squares and which should, if possible, be acquired before more buildings are erected of them.

            On the other hand, land which is needed for playgrounds, but which is more of less closely built upon and otherwise improved, is not likely to change so suddenly in value and can therefore, if necessary, be more safely left to be acquired more of less piecemeal from year to year.

            There is another very important policy which study of park development in other cities makes clear. It is that the only way in which a good beginning can be made toward the accomplishment of a comprehensive park system is by having a well-balanced and fairly complete scheme studied out and by then borrowing a very large sum of money for the immediate acquisition of a large part if not the whole of the proposed park system. One reason for this, as we have already explained, is in order to take advantage of opportunities while they are still open. But a far more important reason is that only by so doing can sectional jealousies be prevented from blocking orderly and economical progress in the acquisition of parks and parkways. This is a matter of such general experience that it hardly needs argument to support it. If the dread of a big bond issue should lead to the adoption of the idea of buying one park now and another next year and a larger one two or three years later and so on—the piecemeal policy—progress would not only be slow because of the necessary log rolling in deciding the order of acquisition, but most likely there would be no progress at all, as shown by the fact that Dayton, with a population 116,577, has an average of only 8 square feet of park area per inhabitant, while Hartford Conn., with only a 98,915 population has an average of 286 square feet of park area per inhabitant, or over 35 times as much, and Hartford is by no means at the head of the list. Until Hartford issued a large park loan, her progress in park acquisition was mostly confined to Bushnell Park, which was only made possible as a matter of votes by the fact that it was in the heart of the city and thus obviously not much more for the benefit of one residence district than another.

            If the piecemeal policy were to be continued in Dayton how could the southwest section expect to get National Avenue taken and improved by the City and extended to the Fifth Street bridge? Every other part of the city would surely vote against a loan for that purpose. No doubt many intelligent citizens might be found who would favor a bond issue for taking Idylwild for a park, but who would frown upon the idea of a bond issue say ten times as large for taking several parks well distributed over the city. It would be useless to try for a bond issue for that one park. People in other parts of the City would vote against it. It has been tried in that very case and failed. It always will fail. People must make up their minds to two things: First, that the City must have parks: and, second, that the only possible way to get them is by a big bond issue.

            The following schedule shows the total approximate acreage of playgrounds, small and large parks, and also the approximate lengths of parkways and boulevards:

26 playgrounds, approximate acreage­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________________230

9 small parks, namely:

Rockwood Park_________________________26.0

Poolwood Park__________________________80.0

Spurwood Park_________________________18.0

Beechwood Park________________________17.5

Brookwood Park________________________12.0

Westwood Park_________________________12.0

Highwood Park_________________________ 22.0

Highland Park__________________________ 15.0

Homewood Park_________________________14.0



4 large parks, namely:

            Woodleigh Park__________________________ 131.0

            Old Channel Park_________________________ 86.0

Upriver Park, including Miami River (north from

Steel Dam) and Stillwater River to a point about

1½ miles north of Highland Avenue_________ 510.0

Downriver Park, excluding 800’ stripe embracing

river and bordering drives_________________ 330.0





            Circumferential parkways_________________10.3 miles

            Miami River Parkway____________________ 4.6 miles

            Wolf Creek Parkway_____________________1.8 miles

            Mad River Parkways_____________________2.5 miles

                                                                                ---19.2 miles


            Third Street____________________________3.0 miles

            Xenia Avenue__________________________3.0 miles

            National Avenue________________________3.0 miles

                                                                                ---9.0 miles


            From this schedule it is obvious that were the land recommended for playgrounds an parks (150.65 acres) acquired Dayton would be placed in a much more creditable position than it holds at present in its relation to other cities in matter o parks, as it would then have a population of 78 people per acre of park in stead of, as now, 5948 and the percentage of park area to that of the city would be 20 per cent instead of 0.27 per cent. In other words Dayton would be near the head of the list, instead of the foot.

                                                                                    Respectfully submitted,

                                                                                                OLMSTED BROTHERS


            The extension along Home Avenue to Williams Street will be a matter of improvement only as we fear the expense of widening the avenue would be prohibitive. From Williams Street to Mound Street the line cuts so diagonally across lots that the cost of acquiring the necessary land should be taken up by someone familiar with the values.


Circumferential Parkway, Upriver Park to Soldiers’ Home, 100.00 A., at say an average of $1,000 per A.______________________________________________________________$100,000.00

Old Channel Park to Findlay Avenue, 35.00 A., at say an average of $1,500 per A._________________________________________________________________$52,500.00

Woodleigh Park to Lebanon Pike, 67.00 A., at say an average of $2,000 per A._________________________________________________________________$134,000.00

Cincinnati Pike to Soldiers’ Home, 53.00 A., at say an average of $1,000 per A._________________________________________________________________$53,000.00



            Miami River Parkway, Cincinnati Pike to Steele Dam. From Cincinnati Pike to Washington Street this is taken care of by the proposed change in River.

            From Washington Street to Steele Dam is so complicated by River bed rights, the taking of portions of lots, ect., that it is impossible for us to estimate the cost, and we recommend that the matter be put into the hands of the City Engineer to figure.


            From Miami River to Summit Street. This is merely a matter of improving the existing streets and possibly acquiring portions of some abutting lots. West from Summit Street the area including water, is approximately 69.00 A., at say $1,000 per A._________________$69,000.00




11th May, 1911.

Mr. L. Edgar Orendorf, Secretary,

            Board of Commissioners, Dayton, Ohio.

Dear Sir:

            We enclose an approximate estimate of the cost for acquiring the various tracts of land recommended in our report.

            The estimate in general has been based on prices give us by various people with whom we consulted during the time we were in Dayton studying the park system, and, as in many cases the prices giver were more or less a matter of guess work, we fear that the estimate we now submit cannot be regarded as accurate.

            Moreover, you will readily understand that even though the values should be correct at the present time, the probably increase in value which will accrue should the acquirements be delayed even a year will undoubtedly be considerable.

            If we can be of any further assistance to you in the matter please command our services.

            On going over the area of the playgrounds for this estimate we found an error that had been made and the total for the 26 playgrounds should be have 230 acres instead of 188 acres, and the grand total should be 1506.5 acres. Will you kindly make the necessary corrections in our report?

                                                            Yours very truly,



Reference No. on Plan

Approximate Area

Approximate Valuation


45.0 acres

$ 45,000.00


9.5 “

















































































































Fair Grounds

59.4 acres


East of Canal and south of Stewart Street

29.4 acres



241.2 acres


                                                            330.0 acres                   $448,000.00          $448,000.00


*Estimates furnished by Mr. Clarence Hochwalt.                                                    $1,968,155.00


The area of this parkway, including the water, is approximately 134.0 acres. It should not cost on an average more than $1,000.00 per acre, but we understand that some of the owners have very exorbitant ideas as to the value of their land. Assuming, however, a rater of $1,000.00, the cost would be____________________________________________________________$134,000.00


            Third Street. The only cost to this boulevard will be such improvements in paving, lighting, ect., as may be found desirable.

            Xenia Avenue. Some land will be needed between Wayne Avenue and Quitman Street and this will probably be quite expensive, judging form the valuations given us for No. 3 we shall assume $40,000.00

            From Britt Street to Woodleigh Park about 2.7 acres will have to acquired at a probably cost of $6,000.00 per acre, say, $16,000.00, a total of__________________________$56,000.00

            National Avenue and its extension via Home Avenue to Miami River.  National Avenue will, we understand, have to be purchased form the City Railway Co., and we have no information as to what they expect to receive for it.