Schenley Park (Pronounced "Shen lee") is a large municipal park located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, between the neighborhoods of Oakland, Greenfield, and Squirrel Hill. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district. In 2011, the park was named one of "America's Coolest City Parks" by Travel + Leisure.
|Area||456 acres (185 ha)|
|Created||October 30, 1889|
|Operated by||Pittsburgh Parks Conservatory, City of Pittsburgh|
|Status||Opened all year|
|Location||Schenley Dr. and Panther Hollow Rd., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania|
|Architect||Edward Manning Bigelow|
|Architectural style||Mixed (more Than 2 styles from different periods)|
|NRHP reference #||85003506|
|Added to NRHP||November 13, 1985|
The park is made up of 300 acres (120 ha) donated by Mary Schenley in 1889 and another 120 acres (49 ha) that the city subsequently purchased from her. Another 36 acres (15 ha) were acquired at a later date, bringing the park's total size to 456 acres (185 ha), and making it the second largest municipal park in Pittsburgh, behind Frick Park.
Schenley Park features a grand entrance, Schenley Plaza, and several miles of hiking trails and a large lake in Panther Hollow. Across from the Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is Flagstaff Hill, a popular place to watch outdoor movies in the summer.
In the early days of Schenley Park, the area known as "The Oval" was used for horse racing. Today, it has 13 tennis courts, an all weather running track, and a soccer field. There is also an ice skating rink, public swimming pool, and an 18-hole disc golf course nearby.
Since 1983, Schenley Park has been home to a vintage motor sports car race, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, that takes place annually in mid-July. Additionally, since 1993, the park has been home to the Komen Pittsburgh Race for the Cure, an annual fundraising event for breast cancer and Mother's Day tradition with more than 35,000 participants. Carnegie Mellon University's annual Spring Carnival contests its Sweepstakes, a buggy race, on Tech Avenue, Schenley Drive, and Frew Street.
In 1842, Mary Elizabeth Croghan of Pittsburgh, who was 15 at the time, eloped with 43-year-old Captain Edward Schenley. The couple moved to England. Mary's father attempted to terminate her inheritance in a lawsuit, but was unsuccessful. Mary's maternal grandfather, General James O'Hara, bequeathed to her a parcel of land known as the "Mt. Airy Tract."
Mary's wealth attracted the attention of several land developers in the Pittsburgh area as well as Edward Bigelow, the Director of the Department of Public Works in Pittsburgh. In 1889, Bigelow learned that the agent of a land developer planned to travel to London to attempt to purchase the land from Mary. Bigelow sent an East Liberty lawyer by train to New York City where he then boarded a steamer bound for England. The lawyer beat the real estate agent by two days.
After negotiations with Mary, Bigelow's lawyer entered into an agreement to give 300 acres (1.21 km²) of the Mt. Airy Tract to the city of Pittsburgh with an option to purchase 120 (0.49 km²) more, under the conditions that the park be named after her and never be sold. The city agreed and immediately purchased the additional 120 acres (0.49 km²) of land.
Bigelow began to develop the newly renamed Schenley Park for recreational uses. He hired William Falconer to lead the Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens which was built in 1893. In 1895, Andrew Carnegie built the Carnegie Museum and Music Hall, establishing Oakland and Schenley Park as a cultural icon.
- In 2001, after extensive renovations, the Schenley Park Visitor Center opened in one of the park's original buildings. The building had previously served as a tool shed, the home of the Pittsburgh Civic Garden Center, and a nature museum, until closing in the late 1980s.
- In spring 2006, the Schenley Plaza area was converted to its original use as a grand entrance to Schenley Park. Although it was originally designed as a grand entrance, it had been used as a parking lot for many years. The new park area features a carousel and several small food stands.
- National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Historic Landmark Plaques 1968-2009 (PDF). Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
- National Park Service (2006-03-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form: Schenley Park" (PDF). 1979–1984. Retrieved 2010-06-08.[dead link]
- Tep, Ratha (April 2011). "America's Coolest City Parks". Travel+Leisure. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- "History". Pittsburgh Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Archived from the original on May 14, 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-08.
- Patricia Lowery (2006). Schenley Plaza Dedication: story by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved June 4, 2006.
- Toker, Franklin (1994) . Pittsburgh: An Urban Portrait. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-5434-6.
- Ben Muessig (2006). Sk8er (un)appreciation: story by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved February 17, 2007.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA.|
- Schenley Park Map
- Pittsburgh Dept. of Parks & Recreation website
- Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
- Tour of the Schenley Park's bridges
- Schenley Park Golf Course
- Schenley Park Disc Golf Course
- Schenley Park features
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. PA-467, "Robert Neal Cabin, Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA", 3 photos, 3 measured drawings, 3 data pages