2. It was the First Landscaped Public Park in the Country

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When plans were approved for Central Park in 1853, it was the first major landscaped public park in the entire United States. Wealthy New Yorkers wanted a park like those they saw in European cities like London and Paris. After Central Park was completed in the 1870s, similar urban parks throughout the America’s biggest cities began to pop-up throughout the late-19th century.

Frederick Law Olmsted and architect Calvert Vaux were chosen as the designers of the park after a design competition. The plan they came up with was called the Greensward Plan. The Greensward plan envisioned an artificially crafted environment that mimicked a natural landscape with a mixture of sweeping meadows, large bodies of water, and formal gardens – but not everything in the park was in that original plan.

Before the park was built, the land on which it was constructed was occupied by nearly 2,000 people who were living at the location. Residents of the central Manhattan area the park took over included Irish pig farmers and German gardeners who had built shanties at the site. There was also an entire middle-class African-American settlement, Seneca Village.