Sunday, November 14, 2010

Olmsted Trail

What does Central Park in New York City and Kirby Park have in common?

They were both designed by the
 same architect!

Frederick Law Olmsted, founder of American landscape architecture. Olmsted was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1822. Between 1872 and 1895, when he retired, Olmsted's firm carried out 550 projects. These projects included college campuses, the grounds to the US Capitol, and residential communities.

Olmsted's Philosophy  

Olmsted's main goal, no matter what he was doing was to attempt to improve American society. He had visions of vast recreational and cultural achievements in the hearts of cities. He did not see parks as just vast meadows, but rather he saw them as places of harmony; places where people would go to escape life and regain their sanity. He wanted these parks to be available to all people no matter what walk of life the person followed.

According to the Wilkes- Barre City web site:

“Wilkes-Barre's beautiful Kirby Park is one of the region's most valued recreational resources. Given to the City of Wilkes-Barre by the Kirby Family, the park welcomes hundreds of thousands each year.”


While this is certainly true of most of Kirby Park... There is a neglected part.
A beautiful part that has been neglected for years. It is called the Olmsted Trail, which runs along the river.
 It was originally part of the Native American’s Warrior trail. 

Years ago this area was a wonderful family sanctuary which contained a zoo, band shell, reflecting pool, caretaker cottage, picnic area, herb and flower gardens and clean well kept nature trails.  

Caretakers Cottage

Reflecting pool

Not any more…..

It is a neglected cesspool for drunks, druggies,
bums and perverts.  

I received a call from Gerald Reisinger, Naturopath, asking if I could get some Crime Watch members to help with a clean- up on Saturday.
I knew the area he was talking about,  a few years ago our Penn State Master Gardner group spent many hours there planting flowers by the reflecting pond.

It was in bad shape.. but nothing like the mess we encountered on Saturday !!!

Pictures are worth a thousand words…
We found so much garbage, liquor bottles, beer cans, blankets, condoms, pornographic magazines etc.

  And evidence that people are living there!

  This is in a building that
           once was the band shell.

                                        A Teddy Bear

This is not a safe place. It is a real creepy place.

 It needs to be tended to.
 The city has a total area of only 7.2 square miles.
 None of it should be this bad.

 But.. it should not end there. 
He has plans for more clean-ups.

 But he needs the co-operation from the city and the community to make this place safe and clean.

Mr. Reisinger asked for help and help he got.
Thank you Boy Scouts !!


  1. Nice job Charlotte, keep it up. I know it is discouraging sometimes but if we keep it up the world becomes a better place. alice

  2. We need to get some trash cans for this area. That shouldn't be to hard. And ask the city to empty them weekly. Dorene

  3. No place of such potential beauty should be so neglected. People reflect their surroundings, environment reverberates the culture and nature truly does soothe the soul.

    This Olmstead Trail was absolutely gorgeous in its so called "heyday" It needs to be restored and certainly starting with some trash cans is appropriate. No park or downtown area should be without trash cans because, of course, this encourages littering and then littering becomes habitual. This trail would make a gorgeous bike path along the river!

  4. this is very sad to see, but it doesn't surprise me a bit