Highland Park (Rochester, New York)

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Highland Park
Stairway in northeastern side of Highland Park
Highland Park (Rochester, New York) is located in New York
Highland Park (Rochester, New York)
Location of Highland Park within New York
Type Arboretum
Location 171 Reservoir Avenue
Rochester, New York
Coordinates 43°7′47″N 77°36′23″W / 43.12972°N 77.60639°W / 43.12972; -77.60639Coordinates: 43°7′47″N 77°36′23″W / 43.12972°N 77.60639°W / 43.12972; -77.60639
Area 150 acres (61 ha)
Created 1888 (1888)
Operated by Monroe County
Open All year

Highland Park, also known as Highland Botanical Park, is an arboretum in Rochester, New York, United States. The park's administrative office is located at 171 Reservoir Avenue in Rochester.


In 1888, nurserymen George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry endowed the Rochester community with 20 acres (8.1 ha) of land which became Highland Park,[1] one of the nation's first municipal arboretums. Highland Park is one of many parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, and was designed with the purpose of retaining a natural appearance. Horticulturist John Dunbar, later known in local circles as Johnny Lilacseed, started the park's famous lilac collection in 1892; some of the 20 varieties he installed were descendants of native Balkan Mountain flowers brought to North America by early colonists.


Reservoir c. 1910

The park occupies most of a glacial moraine, sharing the hill with a water reservoir and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.

Highland Park covers 150 acres (61 ha) and features over 1,200 lilac shrubs representing over 500 varieties. Additional woody plants include Japanese maples, sweet-smelling magnolias, and other tree species; a selection of shrubs including barberries, azaleas, mountain laurel, andromeda, and 700 varieties of rhododendron; and a rock garden with dwarf evergreens. The gardens also feature herbaceous plants including spring bulbs, wildflowers, and a pansy bed with 10,000 plants, designed into an oval floral "carpet" with a pattern that changes each year.[2]

Highland Park has a natural amphitheater, sunken garden, a Gothic-style edifice (known as the "Warner Castle"), and a conservatory greenhouse called Lamberton Conservatory. A statue of Frederick Douglass overlooks the amphitheater. The outdoor amphitheater (Highland Park Bowl) is used for summertime concerts, Shakespeare in the Park, and the Free Movies in the Parks series.[2]

The park consists of many themed / memorial gardens: The Greater Rochester Vietnam Veterans Memorial, The AIDS Remembrance Garden and the Poet's Garden are located in Highland Park South.[3]


Lamberton Conservatory

Highland Park hosts Rochester's annual Lilac Festival in May, which is the largest festival of its kind in North America and draws spectators from all over the globe. The Rochester Civic Garden Center, housed in Warner Castle, offers public access to a horticultural and botanical library of over 4,000 volumes and sponsors an ongoing series of educational courses.

Since 1997, Rochester Community Players' Shakespeare Players have performed an annual free Shakespeare in the Park production of one of William Shakespeare's plays in early July at the Highland Park Bowl.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ellwanger and Barry gift has lasted more than a century". Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. May 7, 2009. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Parks - Highland Park". Monroe County. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  3. ^ "Greater Rochester Vietnam Veterans Memorial". Greater Rochester Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Retrieved December 16, 2016.

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