Page:Olmsted report on Portland, Oregon parks, 1903.djvu/17

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

to safely decide the innumerable questions that concern the appearance of the parks and of every part of them and of every object proposed to be put upon them. If they are not fit for that, they are practically useless. As a rule, men of cultivated taste are most apt to be found among those who have always been rich or well-to-do and among professional men more than business men and especially among liberally educated men. Although it has not been customary to have women on park boards, it would seem that as there are probably more of them in a given city who have had the time and inclination to cultivate an appreciation of the beautiful in nature and art, it might be advantageous to enlarge the choice of the appointing authority by including in the park board one or two women of cultivated taste. If a park board has an able business man at its head, the other members should not hamper him in securing efficient administration of the business, but they should control him and all under him in regard to all matters of appearance. It is for this reason that park systems should not be managed by a single commissioner. A single commissioner may be very proper in the case of the police department, the fire department and others where efficiency is the main consideration and beauty incidental, but park beauty should always be the controlling consideration, and the two or four members of the Board who were selected primarily because they were believed to he good judges of beauty in park matters are certainly much more likely to judge safely all matters of appearance than is one man who has been selected for his business ability.

Since it is found desirable that park commissioners should serve without pay, it is important that the duties of the position should be kept as light as is consistent with the successful accomplishment of the business and esthetic control of the work, and that the members of the Board should be so eminent and at the same time so genially agreeable to each other that it will be a positive pleasure for them to meet together. This pleasure and the intellectual satisfaction of controlling the accomplishment of things that will be beautiful and even monumental and that will be admired by both the most intelligent and the most numerous classes of the community, form the reward which enables the city to enlist the services of able men without salaries.

17—Park Systems Should Be Improved and Maintained by Specially Trained Men.

As in every other important class of human endeavor, the best results will usually be attained by men who thoroughly appreciate the purposes to be accomplished and who have by natural aptitude and by long special training the required ability to accomplish these pur-