Frick Park

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Frick Park
FrickParkGate.jpg
Reynolds St. Entrance
Type Municipal Park
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°25′56″N 79°54′18″W / 40.432314°N 79.904904°W / 40.432314; -79.904904
Area 561 acres (2.27 km2)
Created 1919
Operated by City of Pittsburgh Citiparks
Website www.pittsburghparks.org/frick

Frick Park is the largest municipal park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, covering 561 acres (2.27 km2). It is one of Pittsburgh's four historic large parks.

The park began when Henry Clay Frick, upon his death in 1919, bequeathed 380 acres (1.5 km2) south of Clayton, his Point Breeze mansion (which is now part of the Frick Art & Historical Center). He also arranged for a $2 million trust fund ($27.2 million today) for long-term maintenance for the park, which opened on June 25, 1927. He did this against his will, but rather acquiesced to his daughter, Helen's debutante wish which he had promised to honor.[1] The park was enlarged from Point Breeze into Squirrel Hill to the border of Edgewood. It is one of the few areas of a city that Frick helped industrialize, where steep ravines and mature woods remain relatively undisturbed, forming a nature reserve of native plants and abundant wildlife. Owls, amphibians, wild turkey, fox, and many mammal species are found in the park.

Henry Clay Frick's son, Childs Frick, developed his lifelong love of animals in the woods and ravines of the park. Childs Frick went on to be a renowned American vertebrate paleontologist, major benefactor and trustee of the American Museum of Natural History.

Frick Environmental Center[edit]

Fire

In 2001, the old Frick Environmental Center, a wooden structure located just inside the park entrance caught fire, destroying the entire inside and rendered the structure functionally unsuitable. The new location for the Frick Environmental Center is located in Squirrel Hill at 2005 Beechwood Blvd. The center offers programs about the park's habitats and ecology, including the park's 151-acre Frick Woods Nature Reserve. Following the fire, the City of Pittsburgh Public Parks purchased 2 70 ft. by 20 ft. trailer and placed them near the park entrance. The trailers, since 2001 have become a temporary house for the environmental center and outreach programs.

Rebuilding

In late 2013, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, which is tasked by the City to manage the major city parks, began talks and fundraising for a new Frick Environmental Center. The building will stand at the same spot as the old environmental center, produce all of its energy, collect rainwater, and be LEED certified. Demolition at the site was completed in late-2014 and construction is expected to begin sometime in late 2014.

Ecology of Frick Park[edit]

The eastern park boundary is Nine Mile Run, a formerly heavily polluted stream that has been restored to its natural beauty with an innovative water catchment design, extending Frick Park nearly to the mouth of Nine Mile Run at the Monongahela River.

Blue Slide Playground[edit]

In the section of the park located near the corner of Beechwood Boulevard and English Lane, there is a playground with a blue slide going down a steep hill and that playground is therefore known as the blue slide park.

Sledding on this hill is a very popular winter pastime for many people who live nearby. The hill's long, sloping bowl ends in a grouping of trees. Two different approaches down the hill – one shallow and one steep – intersect at the bottom, occasionally resulting in collisions between sledders. Crashing into trees is also an occasional occurrence. As a result, the city posted "no sledding" signs for liability reasons.[2]

Frick Park in popular media[edit]

Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller's album Blue Slide Park, the first indie top of the charts recording in a quarter of a century, is named for this playground. The song Frick Park Market is likewise named for a small store near the Point Breeze park boundary.

References[edit]

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