For Immediate Release
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The Great Grant
Grant Park Celebrates 125th Anniversary
Atlanta - During the past 125 years, Atlanta has seen a lot of things change, but the city's oldest public park has remained an intown respite for locals and visitors alike. A green getaway from the city, Grant Park has made plenty of history since its 1883 beginnings, and today it stands as one of Atlanta's most celebrated public places.
Once referred to as a resort area because of its shaded walking paths, carriage trails, flowing springs and bountiful trees, Grant Park was the first city park to result from a philanthropic gift.
On May 17, 1883, Lemuel Pratt Grant, a civil engineer whom the park was named after, presented a hand-written deed to the city of Atlanta for 100 acres of land to be used as a city park. Soon after, a parks commission consulted with Olmsted Landscape Design Company, who deemed Lake Abana - a six acrea man-made pond - one of the central amenities of the space. The park also featured five natural springs that attracted Atlantans looking to "take the waters." In addition, a number of carriageways, names after Georgia cities, were created to allow for leisurely drives in the park.
Just 10 yeas later, the Cyclorama was moved to Grant Park, providing another reason for residents and visitors alike to flock to the beautiful space. In 1912, the Judge John Erskine Memorial Fountain joined the Cyclorama in Grant Park, and in 1927, an art deco fountain was installed as well. In later years, a portion of Lake Abana would be used for swimming - it was the largest cement-bottom swimming pool in the Southeast - before it was drained and filled to make room for a parking area and zoo expansion in the '60s.
The Grant Park Conservancy, a nonprofit group committed to protecting Grant Park, was organized in 1999. Four years later, it helped organize the first Adams 5K Run for the Park and Festival, now known as the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival.
For this historic year, the Conservancy has a variety of events and activities planned to celebrate the park's birthday, like the Summer Shade Festival, which will be bigger and better than ever. Held Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31, the 6th annual festival will inlcude live musical performances, a juried artist show and market and a children's area, as well as Corks & Forks: A Fine Food and Wine Event that features food, wine and beer from Atlanta's top restaurants. For more information, visit www.summershade.org or www.gpconservancy.org