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