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Leakin Park, or Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park, is the largest woodland park in any East Coast city. The 1,200 acres park was created in 1908 to preserve the natural habitats and prevent the overdevelopment of Baltimore's watersheds. Located in Baltimore City, it is surrounded by the neighborhoods of West Forest Park, Purnell, Wetheredsville, Wakefield, Windsor Terrace, Franklintown, West Hills, Hunting Ridge, Rognel Heights, Edmondson, Western, Mosher, Winchester, Rosemont, Franklin, Fairmount, Mount Holly and Windsor Hills.
Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park's history dates back to 1901, when a small tract near Edmondson Ave. and Hilton Ave. was designated as the Qwynns Falls Reserve. In 1904, as the city expanded its borders, the Olmsted firm proposed the creation of "stream valley parks" to protect watersheds like the Gwynns Falls. The firm would work with the city for the next following decades to acquire lands for the park. In 1939, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. recommended the addition of the Winans Estate, Crimea. The purchase would include the valley of the Dead Run and be the first park acquisition of its size within the city.
With purchases in 1941 and 1948, Leakin Park was created and named after Baltimore lawyer J. Wilson Leakin's grandfather. The former Winans Estate was property bought by the son of B&O railroad builder Ross Winans, Thomas DeKay Winans, in the 1850s. The estate was named Crimea and housed the country home Orianda – currently the Friends of Orianda House – and a small chapel. Today, the stone Orianda mansion, carriage house and wooden chapel have been designated as Baltimore City Landmarks. Ruins of a mock fort and farm buildings and an iron water wheel are also accessible in the park.
Because Gwynns Falls and Leaking Park are contiguous, the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks has combined the two parklands into Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park. It is designated as a part of the Baltimore National Heritage Area, managed by the City's Recreation and Parks, and assisted by the Friends of Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park (FOGFLP) nonprofit organization.
The Eagle Drive Entrance is the Crimea section of the park. It features a railroad-themed park, the stone Orianda mansion, carrage house, Carpenters Gothic Winans Chapel, headquarters of the Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School, Carrie Murray Nature Center, tennis courts, woodland trails and a grove of saucer magnolias.
The Chesapeake Bay Outbound School (CBOBS) is an educational nonprofit established in 1986. Teaching social emotional learning (SEL) skills to youths in middle and high school, the CBOBS operates one of its two campuses within the Gwynns Falls/Leaking Park. Programs offered at the school range from high ropes teambuilding to wilderness expeditions. There are also programs available for educators, professional teams and veterans.
The Carry Murray Nature Center was named after the mother of Baltimore Oriole great Eddie Murray. Offering environmental education programs for children, families and adults, the center provides a way for people to meet live animals, explore the park and develop a relationship with nature. It offers field trips, outreach programs, the Wild Haven forest immersion program, public programs, summer camps, special events and volunteer opportunities.
The Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park is a great place for dog walking, walking, jogging, running, bicycling, and hiking. It features approximately 18 hiking trails within the park. Mostly unpaved, some of these trails include:
Have you or someone you know been injured in a work-related accident? We can help you. Contact our Leakin Park worker's compensation lawyers to get the compensation you are warranted. Schedule now for a free consultation.
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