1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Park

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PARK (Fr. parc; Ital. parco; Sp. parque; O.Eng. pearroc; connected with Ger. pferch, fold, and pfarrei, district, translating med. Lat. parochia, parish), a word ordinarily used in two senses: (a) an enclosed tract of ground, consisting of grass-land, planted with trees and shrubs, and surrounding a large country house; (b) a similar space in or near a town, laid out ornamentally, and used by the public as an “open space” for health or recreation.

The term “park” first occurs in English as a term of the forest law of England for a tract of ground enclosed and privileged for beasts of the chase, the distinguishing characteristics of which were “vert,” i.e. the green leaves of trees, “venison,” i.e. deer, and “enclosure.” A “park” was a franchise obtained by prescription or by grant from the crown (see Forest Law; also Deer Park).

The word has had a technical military significance since the early part of the 17th century. Originally meaning the space occupied by the artillery, baggage and supply vehicles of an army when at rest, it came to be used of the mass of vehicles itself. From this mass first of all the artillery, becoming more mobile, separated itself; then as the mobility of armies in general became greater they outpaced their heavy vehicles, with the result that faster moving transport units had to be created to keep up communication. A “park” is thus at the present day a large unit consisting of several hundred vehicles carrying stores; it moves several days' marches in rear of the army, and forms a reservoir from “whence the mobile ammunition and supply columns” draw the supplies and stores required for the army's needs. “Parking” vehicles is massing them for a halt. The word “park” is still used to mean that portion of an artillery or adminstrative troops' camp or bivouac in which the vehicles are placed.