Gwynns Falls Leakin Park
|Gwynns Falls Leakin Park|
|aka Leakin Park or Gwynns Falls Park|
Orianda Mansion in Gwynns Falls Leakin Park
|Operated by||Baltimore Department of Parks and Recreation|
The adjoining Gwynns Falls Park and Leakin Park, generally referred to as "Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park," cover 1,216 acres of contiguous parkland, the most extensive park in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore's Department of Recreation and Parks operates Gwynns Falls and Leakin as a single park, beginning at the western edge of the city, following the Gwynns Falls from Windsor Mill Road (northwest) to Wilkens Avenue (southeast).
Franklintown Road serves as the main vehicular route through the park, as a continuation of Dogwood Road from the Baltimore County suburb of Woodlawn. It exits the park near West Lafayette Avenue further into the city. At one point, Interstate 70 was to continue from its current eastern terminus at the Security Boulevard/Cooks Lane interchange towards Interstate 95, but was canceled due to heavy opposition to its routing through the park.
Although surrounded by an urban environment, some areas of the park are so heavily wooded that they give the impression of wilderness. Portions of the 1999 horror film, The Blair Witch Project, were filmed here.
Gwynns Falls Park
The properties which eventually became Gwynns Falls Park started with a small parcel of land southwest of Edmondson Avenue, selected by the Baltimore City government in 1901 to serve as a park, anticipating the needs of a growing population. In their plan for the "Greater Baltimore Public Grounds," prepared for the Baltimore Municipal Arts Society in 1904, the Olmstead Brothers recommended acquiring land along the Gwynns Falls for a stream valley park.
Gwynns Falls Park was established by the City of Baltimore in 1908 with the addition of other properties to the land purchased in 1901.
A bequest from J. Wilson Leakin in 1922 provided funding for a 300 acre addition to the park, purchased as two parcels in 1941 and 1948 from the descendants of Thomas de Kay Winans (1820–1878). A stipulation of the bequest required the city to name this portion of the park for Leakin's grandfather, Shepard A. Leakin.
The property purchased from the Winans family was previously known as the Crimea. Thomas Winans named his Baltimore property after the Crimean peninsula in Russia. In 1856, Winans built a villa on the property, which he called the Orianda House. His villa continues to stand in Leakin Park, at 1901 Eagle Drive.
- Carrie Murray Nature Center
- Chesapeake & Allegheny Live Steamers, a miniature steam-powered railroad with 3,400 feet of track, provides free rides every second Sunday, April through November.
- Gwynns Falls Trail, 14 miles of hiking and biking trails
- Orianda Mansion, former summer home of Thomas Winans
- Crimea estate chapel and herb gardens
- Ben Cardin Picnic Grove and Pavilion, named for Benjamin Cardin
- Western Cemetery
Activities and events
- Baltimore Herb Festival, an annual event, was held for the 23rd consecutive year on May 29, 2010.
- Carrie Murray Bug Fest, held annually in September at the Carrie Murray Nature Center.
- "About Carrie Murray Nature Center"[dead link] Carerie Murray Nature Center. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- "History of the Park" Friends of Gwynns Falls Leakin Park. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
- "Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park"[dead link] City of Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
- Evan Balkan (2006). 60 Hikes within 60 Miles. "Leakin Park", pp 60-64. Menasha Ridge Press. ISBN 9780897326230.
- "Trail Info" Gwynns Falls Trail Council. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
- The Orianda House. Friends of the Orianda House (March 2010). Retrieved 2010-09-30.
- "Baltimore National Heritage Area Map". City of Baltimore. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- Chesapeake & Allegheny Live Steamers. Chesapeake & Allegheny Stream Preservation Society (September 7, 2010).
- Baltimore Herb Festival
- "Gwynns Falls Trail" Map of Gwynns Falls Trail with Leakin and Gwynns Falls Parks.