BNHA Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park

Resource Type

Parks/Green Spaces

Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park constitutes one of the largest municipal tracts in the United States and is a distinctive natural environment within a highly urban setting. Originally conceived as a stream valley park by the Olmsted Brothers in their 1904 Plan for the City of Baltimore, it was suggested that by associating the larger Gwynns Falls watershed with the stream valley that the entire area could be protected from the pressures of future development.

There is a high probability of use by Native Americans with an established trail that was later used by colonial militia. The Gwynns Falls and the Dead Run streams that are located within the park originally powered mills produceding grain, paper, and textiles. It was along this corridor that the city was able to acquire a significant parcel of land for the establishment of the Gwynns Falls Park in 1908. The area included an old millrace that was later filled to create a path through the wooded gorge.

The Crimea Estate, the summer home of 19th century industrialist Thomas Winans, is now included within the boundaries of Leakin Park. Set in natural rolling woodlands with a large oak grove, the estate had many interesting structures that still stand today, including the Italianate stone mansion known as Orianda.

Site summary courtesy of the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks