Famously designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. in the late 1800s, Olmsted Linear Park is made up of six separate parks. It’s strung across Ponce de Leon Parkway a bit like a necklace. The parks provide plenty of scenic views, great paths for walking, biking and jogging and so much more.
Druid Hills was originally developed by Joel Hurt from the Kirkwood Land Company. Hurt worked with Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. on the project. Olmsted decided adding the parks was a great idea and the linear park was first added to the plans in 1893. Olmsted passed before the project was completed in 1908.
The original plans for the park stayed intact, but some plants and other installations were not consistent with the design Olmsted laid out. Other things contributed to taking the park away from the original design, such as poor maintenance and erosion over the years. The park was even threatened by a freeway proposition in the 1980s.
However, construction was blocked ant the park was rehabilitated by the Olmsted Parks Society, Park Pride, Druid Hills Civic Association, the City of Atlanta, Fernbank and DeKalb County. The Olmsted Linear Park Alliance was created in 1997 to carry out the plan put together for the park.
The Park Today
Today, Olmsted Linear Park is actually a collection of six parks. Each one is a bit unique.
The largest of the parks is called Deepdene. It’s located all the way on the eastern most end of Linear Park and provides a wooded track and a stream. The park covers 22 acres and ranges from flat meadow to steeper slopes.
Dellwood has a natural depression, which is the dell in the name. It’s a pastoral style park with plenty of open space and just a few groups of trees.
a park named for the very wooded areas providing plenty of shade, Shadyside is both wooded and pastoral. It has many beautiful elements throughout and a well was added in the 1930s, along with a bridge, a pool and a waterfall.
Named for the oak grove found within it, Oak Grove is mainly a pastoral park. It has been maintained by the Druid Hills Garden Club and many Olmsted elements have been preserved.
The only of the six segments named for an actual person, Virgilee park is named for Joel Hurt’s daughter. It’s a pastoral park with beautiful landscaping, some streets, a few paths and a few other types of plants throughout.
Found on the most western side of Linear Park, Springdale is the gateway to the entire park form Atlanta. It’s known for the mature oak trees and the green knoll.
All six parks are very beautiful and offer something a bit different. Events are held here throughout the year and plenty of green space is provided for residents of Druid hills to enjoy. Of course, the many paths attract many walkers, bikers and joggers to the parks, as well.