Parks designed by the Olmsteds are intended to be “spaces held in common by all residents of their cities, places where all classes could mingle, free from the competitiveness and antagonisms of workday life.” Fairmount Park is no exception.
The Olmsteds would be pleased how Fairmount Park has blossomed since its grand opening in 1911. The park’s three lakes, shaded grounds, and Montezuma Cypress trees are home to a multitude of bird species year round, plus those who stop by the lakes on seasonal migrations. Birding sites often list Fairmount Park as a top location for spotting both local and visiting birds.
True to the Olmsted vision of creating places where the “classes can mingle”, Fairmount Park hosts Riverside residents and visitors in a multitude of ways. Birthday celebrations decorate the picnic tables while Quinceaneras and wedding parties pose for photos in the rose gardens. Others feed the ducks on Evans Lake or fish from one of the two piers or along the shorline. The playgrounds are bustling with the squeals of children playing. Nature enthusiasts enjoy walking around the lakes, birdwatching expeditions, boating and bicycling. Riverside’s Parks & Recreation Department sponsors concerts at the band shell, sailboat lessons at the boathouse and fishing derbies.
Sue Mitchell, an artist who walks the park regularly, documents the park’s diversity and beauty in her photography. Her photos accompany this article illustrating how fortunate we are to have Fairmount Park; an oasis in the heart of Downtown Riverside.