HOURS: Daily dawn–dusk
One of the city’s oldest parks, the land now known as Patterson Park used to be a 200-acre estate (owned by William Patterson) that marked the far eastern edge of what was called Baltimore Town. During the War of 1812, while soldiers at nearby Fort McHenry were holding off a British invasion fleet, a second Redcoat force moved on land toward Baltimore from the east.
When they reached Patterson Park, they found some 100 cannon and 20,000 soldiers waiting for them; at the sight of such a massive defense, the British withdrew. Today, the 155-acre park (which includes land east of Linwood Ave.) is a thriving center of activity for the surrounding residents, from life-long Baltimoreans who grew up around the park to newcomers like young professionals and Latino immigrants.
There are walking and jogging paths throughout the hills, fields, and wooded areas of the park, a recently rebuilt boat lake (which isn’t as big as that name implies), and plenty of great views of the city from the high ground at the north end of the park.
There’s also a public swimming pool, tennis courts, soccer fields, and a covered ice-skating rink. Patterson Park is host to variety of festivals, events, and sports leagues throughout the year.
The park’s most notable feature is the pagoda, which is actually a Victorian design, not an Asian one. Completed in 1892, the 60-foot-tall observation tower (only open on Sundays noon–6 p.m. May–October) was completely restored in 2002 and offers spectacular panoramic views of Baltimore. It’s also a popular meeting place and gathering spot for the park’s many visitors.
© Geoff Brown from Moon Baltimore, 1st Edition