City in a Park

City in a Park:

A History of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park System

by James McClelland and Lynn Miller 


Fairmount Park is the municipal park system of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It consists of more than one hundred parks, squares, and green spaces totaling about 11,000 acres, and is one of the largest landscaped urban park networks in the world. In City in a Park, James McClelland and Lynn Miller provide an affectionate and comprehensive history of this 200-year-old park complex.


Fairmount Park originated in the 19th century as a civic effort to provide a clean water supply to Philadelphia while also creating public pleasure grounds. Today, millions travel to the city to view the park's 18th-century villas, attend boat races on the Schuylkill, hike the Wissahickon, visit its Zoo, hear concerts in summer, stroll the city's historic squares and Parkway, and enjoy its enormous collection of public art. Green initiatives flower today; Philadelphia lives amidst its parks. 


Filled with nearly 150 gorgeous full-color photographs, City in a Park chronicles the continuing efforts to create what founder William Pennn desired: a "greene countrie town." 


James McClelland is a freelance writer whose work focuses on the arts. He is Executive Director Emeritus of the Philadelphia Art Alliance. He is the author of The Martinos: A Legacy of Art and Fountains of Philadelphia.


City in a Park, 2016, is available from Temple University Press. 375 pages, 144 color photos, 19 halftones, 8 x 10. Cloth ISBN 978-1-4399-1208-9. $39.50.





"Encyclopedic in its reach and thoughtful in its composition, City in a Park unfolds the history of Philadelphia's expansive, sometimes surprising, municipal park against the backdrop of recent and ongoing grand renewals. It reminds us of the treasuures we have in our shared back, front, and side yards." (Beth K.)


"This book will delight readers who approach their understanding and appreciation of the city's parks from multiple vantage points. More than just a vivid and richly illustrated tour thorugh Phiadelphia's parks and their historic structures, public art, and insititutions, City in a Park deftly covers more than 200 years of park history, clearly and engagingly explaining the origins, growth, and governance within the city's prevailing and evolving historical and economic context. City in a Park is both an excellent guidebook and a captivating read. Armed with this rich lode of information, visitors will find a visit to the park all the more stimulating." (Bob T.)


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