5 Historical Facts You Didn’t Know About Patterson Park

Aug. 30, 2023

The Live Baltimore team was honored and privileged to receive a guided walking tour of Baltimore City’s famous Patterson Park. We learned some interesting historical facts thanks to the Friends of Patterson Park, a nonprofit organization created to foster community and engagement in and around Patterson Park. Keep reading to discover some of our favorite pieces of Patterson Park history.

  1. Six acres started it all.

The year was 1827 when an Irish merchant named William Patterson donated six acres of land to the City. In 1853, the land was designated as a city public park with a celebration of about 20,000 residents, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun.

  1. Captain John Smith once visited (yes, from Pocahontas)!

Before the land was officially a public park and was simply a corn and tobacco farm, the park had a semi-famous visitor. In the year 1608, Captain John Smith stopped by the area on his first-ever voyage.

  1. It was essential during wartime.

During the Civil War, Patterson Park was a hospital encampment for injured Gettysburg soldiers. During WWI, the decorative iron fence that once surrounded the park’s perimeter was taken down and used for supplies. Additionally, the Patterson Park Observatory happens to be a war memorial.

  1. The garbage cans are new.

Up until the early 2000s, the park had very few (if any) trash cans. That is until the Friends of Patterson Park offered residents 30-gallon garbage cans for donations and placed them strategically throughout the park. Garbage can owners were even provided a map to find their cans.

  1. The Community Keeps Getting Better!

The Patterson Park neighborhood was not always as strong and vibrant as it is today. Neighbors kept to themselves; there were few long-term homeowners and no public programming at the park. Finally, in 1996, Ed Rutkowski formed the Patterson Park Community Development Corporation to improve some neighborhood conditions and attract new prospective buyers. Additionally, that same year, the Friends of Patterson Park nonprofit was formed, helping create the fun activities in Patterson Park we all know and love today.

Patterson Park remains a popular destination for events, community gatherings, nature enthusiasts, and more.  Thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Patterson Park, residents feel a sense of community, pride, and ownership of the park. Learn more about the Friends of Patterson Park to get involved and keep up with park events!