Early Views of Prospect Park

Tupper Thomas announced her retirement as administrator of Prospect Park just as we were beginning a project to catalog our 19th Century map collection. The collection includes a number of maps covering the progress of Prospect Park from early proposals to today. In honor of both Ms Thomas and the beautiful park she has worked to preserve, here are a few interesting pieces:

An early plan by Egbert Viele. Note Flatbush Avenue cutting directly through the middle of the park. Land was purchased based on Viele’s plan, but plans changed as time passed and the park ended up looking very different.

Plan for the Improvement of Prospect Park. 1861. Egbert L. Viele. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

Plan for the Improvement of Prospect Park. Egbert L. Viele. 1861. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

Another proposal that didn’t advance beyond paper – this one by Benjamin Frost.

Preliminary Map Showing Lineal and Topographical Surveys of Prospect Park Brooklyn, Over Areas Included by Present and Proposed Boundaries. Benjamin D. Frost. 1865. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

Preliminary Map Showing Lineal and Topographical Surveys of Prospect Park Brooklyn, Over Areas Included by Present and Proposed Boundaries. Benjamin D. Frost. 1865. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

An 1865 plan by Calvert Vaux before his partnership with Frederick Law Olmsted.  You can see existing roads running “under” what today is part of the long meadow. Also note the prototype at right for Grand Army Plaza.

Plan Showing Present & Proposed Boundaries of Prospect Park Brooklyn. Calvert Vaux, Architect. Brooklyn Historical Society Collection.

Plan Showing Present & Proposed Boundaries of Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Calvert Vaux, Architect. 1865. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

An 1871 design from Olmsted, Vaux & Co, Landscape Architects.  Made while the park was both open and still under construction, this map includes a reservoir near Grand Army Plaza. Today the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and Mount Prospect Park sit on what was the reservoir’s land. Also of interest is the land for sale around the reservoir; part of it makes up today’s Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

Design for Prospect Park in the city of Brooklyn. Olmsted Vaux & Co., Landscape Architects. Brooklyn Historical Society Collection.

Design for Prospect Park in the city of Brooklyn. Olmsted Vaux & Co., Landscape Architects. 1871. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

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