Great Lawn

Volunteer Park

Picnickers on the Great Lawn in Volunteer Park. Courtesy Volunteer Park Trust.
Great Lawn, looking southwest toward reservoir.

When Olmsted designed Volunteer Park, he placed organized activities — things like playgrounds, a concert grove, and the conservatory — at the north end of the park and beside the main drive, or concourse, along the top of the ridge. In the rest of the park, he laid out vast, sweeping lawns, fringed with planting beds. He called for trees, tall shrubs, and low plants in those planting beds so they would enclose the lawns. The lawn to the west of the concourse has been altered since the park was originally developed. The thick grove of trees that bisects the lawn have been planted over the years for a variety of reasons. Also, the Amphitheater, which can be seen at the far end of the lawn, was built in 1971 and the lawn was regraded to create a bowl for seating.

The lawns provide a respite from the urban environment. They also create space for gatherings and recreation. On a sunny day, this lawn is full of picnickers, people playing Frisbee, and people walking their dogs.

Stay to the left and walk up the hill to the Lily Pond at the top.

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