it will be necessary to have some plan. There will have to be walks eventually, and some of these must necessarily be arranged as shortcut paths. No doubt it will be advisable to open up a separate lawn for little children, so that they will not be inconvenienced or endangered by the rougher play that is to go on in the main ball field. Some form of shelter will doubtless be desirable, if not necessary eventually, and its location should be considered in planning the grounds. Some central feature, such as a fountain basin, may also be needed to create interest, considering the flatness of the ground. This may, if desired, be given a depth and construction suitable for a wading pool, a feature which has proved to be exceedingly popular with little children at Buffalo and other cities. Large boxes of sand have also proved a source of happiness to still smaller children. In general, the main idea to be accomplished in the thinning is to arrange for a continuous border, so that surrounding houses will not be unduly conspicuous, and for the longest practicable views in various directions within the grounds over narrow winding lawns, or low masses of shrubbery. The fir tree is so suggestive of wildness that it is ill adapted to remain permanently in any considerable numbers in such a formal public park or square. To look well it should have its lower branches spreading upon the ground, in which case the turf would be destroyed on too large areas. While young, groups of little fir trees are extremely beautiful and interesting, but due consideration must be given to the future. It is probable that with the exception of three or four groups in which the individual trees should be twenty feet to thirty feet or more apart, the existing little fir trees should be almost entirely cleared. Occasional fir trees may also be left in the borders, spaced irregularly, from thirty to forty to one hundred feet apart, but the border plantation should be composed mainly of shrubs and slow-growing trees of moderate height, with a few tall-growing deciduous trees in groups, to vary the sky-line of the plantations. A suitable fence will always be necessary about such a park, approached as it is by various streets and surrounded as it will be by houses. A reasonable number of entrances should be provided, say six or at the most eight. Without a fence and such limited number of gates, people would take the shortest possible route from the abutting houses and streets to the nearest stopping places of the electric cars and vice versa, so that there would come to be shortcut paths by the score. Without a fence, therefore, the beauty of the lawns would eventually be greatly injured, if not almost destroyed, by these numerous shortcut paths running in all directions. The fence which has just been put up is ugly and should be covered with vines. Eventually it will be desirable to erect a plain iron picket fence, which should, of course, be concealed by vines and screened by shrubbery.
Page:Olmsted report on Portland, Oregon parks, 1903.djvu/54
This page has been validated.
REPORT OF THE PARK BOARD