Penn Valley Park Conservancy

Restoring, preserving and enhancing historic Penn Valley Park
as a vital urban green space and as a recreational and cultural resource
for the enjoyment of all through education, advocacy and public/private partnerships

About PVP
1893 Report
of the Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners
Prepared by August Meyer & George Kessler

Between Penn Street and Grand Avenue lies the Penn Street ravine, which is without doubt one of the most charming natural spots in the vicinity of the city. The ridges on the South Side furnish beautiful and sightly locations for residences, but the ravines between them are occupied by cheap and unsightly structures.

The 1893 Penn Valley Park was 75 acres. Kessler did not propose Penn Valley Park as the cityís great rural or scenic park but as a pleasure-ground. A reasonable large parcel of land within the city, intended to supply convenient places of recreation for a large number of people.

Key ideas/features of proposed Penn Valley Park design:

  • Valley is intended to be a park drive.

  • Several roads lead into and through the park beyond, making all portions easily reached, and from all sides.

  • Donít use continuous and formal plantation of shade trees along the roads. Instead use groups of trees.

  • Playground goes in valley at northern half with rest well turfed and planted with clumps of trees and shrubs along the slopes.

  • East side should have a short cliff drive. Path along the summit leads to all the points with the best views to the west, north and east. At these places seats and shelter will be desirable.

  • Pavilion at south end with view to north.

  • Lake with paths to and around it.

    • The principle and most attractive feature lies in the wide range of views obtained from summits.

      Plantations of trees and shrubs can be placed in immediate foreground to cover undesirable objects and to form frames of foliage for the pictures left exposed to view. These plantations can often be so arranged as to appear to incorporate distant objects of interest and make them seem potions of the park, although actually far beyond and out of control.

      A sufficient number of buildings for operating purposes as well as for convenience and comfort of the public must be provided for at convenient and proper places.

      The climate here permits the use of a great variety of deciduous trees and shrubs and herbaceous plants, making it possible to have during the spring and autumn months a great profusion of flowers, without resorting to an excess of bedding plants for color effects. The dry summer months seem to limit the use of coniferous trees to a comparatively small number of kinds, but among these are the most valuable of the pines, firs, spruces, and arbor-vitaes for park planting.

      For the lawn, the light of the landscape picture, the blue-grass is unquestionably the best.