Park Past & Present in The Centennial District (West Fairmount Park)

Weekend Tour

In 1876, more than 10 million people journeyed to Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park for the nation’s Centennial Exposition. Comprising more than 2,000 acres, the park is divided by the Schuylkill River into its East and West sections. On this tour, join us for a ride through the 1,400-acre West Fairmount Park, highlighting the interplay of history, nature, arts and culture, and community with a focus on the establishment of Philadelphia’s largest park, its evolution to today, and management and programming efforts led by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Fairmount Park Conservancy and other partners.

The tour will begin at the Please Touch Museum (located in the historic Memorial Hall built for the Exhibition) where participants will visit the model of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition held in West Fairmount Park. Stops include the Whispering Bench at the Smith Memorial Arch, Skew Arch Bridge on the Trolley Trail, the newly restored Lansdowne Glen and Pavilion in the Trees, the Horticulture Center, Fairmount Park Conservancy’s new headquarters at the Ohio House, the iconic Belmont Plateau, Greenland Nursery, and the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden. The tour will end at the Philly Pumptrack (a looped sequence of rollers and berms for bike riders designed to maximize momentum), where attendees can test their cycling skills.

Tour Leaders

Michael Burch

Founder and Editor, The Parkside Journal

John Sigmund

Public Programs Coordinator, Fairmount Park Conservancy