When Milwaukee Parks Commissioner Christian Wahl recruited FLO to design three parks for the city, the great landscape architect envisioned a grand system of parks and set about bringing it to life. All three parks – Lake Park, Riverside Park (originally River Park) and Washington Park (originally West Park) – remain.
The 138-acre Lake Park features rustic bridges, winding paths, waterfalls, lake bluffs and natural ravines. Olmsted designed the park around the North Point Lighthouse, a steel-and-iron edifice that helped guide ships on Lake Michigan as recently as 1994. Since then, it has been refurbished and opened as a museum. Initial work on Lake Park was completed by 1894, but the park took years to complete, making it one of FLO’s last projects. His firm continued to oversee the project after his 1895 retirement.
Today, Lake Park still honors Olmsted’s vision for both “active” and “passive” recreation. Besides nature walks and the lighthouse museum, Lake Park hosts bird watching, concerts, and an array of athletic activities including ice skating, lawn bowling, croquet and more. There’s even a fine French restaurant in the park’s historic pavilion.
To learn more, you can check out Lake Park Friends’ website.