4400. Parks and Recreation Department
Power to establish parks in the City of Boston was granted by the Commonwealth on May 6, 1875, subject to acceptance by the people. This act was accepted by a vote of the citizens on June 9, 1875. The first Board of Park Commissioners was appointed on July 8, 1875 and confirmed on July 15, 1875. Chapter 10 of the Ordinances of 1912 merged the Park Department with the Public Grounds, Bath and Music Departments, under the name of Park and Recreation Department. In 1920, the Cemetery Department was merged with the Park Department, the latter title being substituted for Park and Recreation Department. On May 1, 1954, the department was renamed the Parks and Recreation Department. The Boston Parks and Recreation Department provides residents and visitors with clean, green, safe, and accessible open space in more than 2,200 acres of park land throughout the city including parks, playgrounds, athletic facilities, city squares, urban wilds, street trees, three active cemeteries, 16 historic burying grounds, and two golf courses.
Found in 7 Collections and/or Records:
Parks Commission proceedings
Scope and Contents
Microfilm copies of proceedings of Parks Commission, 1875-1963 with gaps. Original records remain in the custody of the Parks and Recreation Department. Includes summary minutes of the meetings of the Parks Commission. Original volumes (1875-1983 with gaps) have been scanned and are available on the Internet Archive.
Found in: City of Boston Archives / Parks Commission proceedings
Parks Department annual reports and publications
Scope and Contents Includes copies of annual reports for the years 1875-1877, 1881, 1885, 1887, 1889, 1892, 1894-1895, 1907, 1910, 1920, 1938-1954, 1956-1966, 1968-1970, 1972-1974, 1984 and 1989; "Notes on the Plan of Franklin Park and Related Matters", 1886; "Preliminary Report of the Board of Commissioners of the Department of Parks with Plans and Estimates for a Zoological Garden at Franklin Park and an Aquarium at Marine Park", 1910; "Special Report", 1925; "Future Parks, Playgrounds and Parkways", 1925;...
Parks Department construction photographs
Scope and Contents note The photographs in this collection represent visual documentation of various improvements to active and passive recreation facilities in Boston. The Parks and Recreation Department, Engineering Division administered the improvement projects. The photographs record work done by contractors and architects between 1968 adn 1984. They were a part of the City of Boston Archives accession #99013, which also contained maps and plans. The original order of the collection was adhered to...
Parks Department legal records
Scope and Contents note This series consists of 5.5 cubic feet of records from the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. The records cover the dates from 1880-1992, with bulk dates of 1885-1960. These records deal with various park projects of the Boston Parks Department (and its predecessors) from the 1880s through the early 1970s. Documents include land takings, deeds, land transfers, sales of land, leases, as well as other legal agreements between the Boston Parks Department (or its predecessors) and...
Dates: 1880-1992 (bulk, 1885-1960)
Parks Department photographs and slides
Series — Multiple Containers
Dates: circa 1970s-2000s
Parks Department plans
Scope and Contents
Boston Parks Department Engineering Division plans. Includes plans produced for Boston Common, Fens, Airport, Commonwealth Avenue, Franklin Park, Copley Square and other projects.
Dates: circa 1890-1975
Found in: City of Boston Archives / Parks Department plans
Parks Department records relating to the Zoo
Scope and Contents note The documents in this series are primarily correspondence between zoo workers, exotic animal suppliers, and zoo patrons. The dates range from 1951 to 1957 during which time James A. Walsh was deputy commissioner of the Boston Parks Department; therefore, the majority of correspondences are to or from him. During this time period, the park was in a period of expansion and many documents refer to the cost of purchasing animals as well as park supplies. A notable example of this is the file...
Dates: 1947-1957 (bulk, 1951-1957)