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Andrew Jackson Downing and his Legacy: Downing Park

Newburgh native Downing was a pioneer of American landscape architecture and design


Opened in 1897, Downing Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, the designers of New York City's Central Park. The two men agreed to give their design to Newburgh if the city would name the new park after their mentor, A.J. Downing. Olmstead's and Vaux's sons, John Olmstead and Downing Vaux, also worked on the park's design.

late 1880's

Mayor Benjamin B. Odell acquires 25 acre Smith farm to build a park, later adding 10 more acres


1889 Design commission is offered to Olmstead and Vaux
1894 Construction starts
1897 Downing Park opens
1908 Architect Frank Estabrook design pergola to be build on foundations of original Smith farmhouse foundations.
1934 Shelter House designed by Gordon Marvel
1946 Outdoor amphitheater built
1961 Observatory demolished
1989 Downing Park Planning Committee contracted with LandscapesInc. to create a Master Plan to guide the rehabilitation of the park
1995 Rehabilitation work on walkways, lighting, curbs, paving, flowering trees and shrubs
2018 Shelter House Cafe opens