PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS. The term park is here used to denote a tract of ground set apart for public use and enjoyment. A grassy expanse, large or small, stocked with shade trees, and used for rest and recreation, is a park, whether it be as formal as at Ver sailles, as wild and picturesque as Fontainebleau, or as trim as an old Dutch garden. Even grass may be omitted and yet the park remains, as in the park of the Tuileries in Paris. where the entire surface among its trees not occupied by pavements, groups of shrubs, or parterres of flowers, is covered with loose gravel, through which water percolates to the tree roots, and over which there is no restraint of popular use. The distinction between a park and a pleasure garden is this: the decorated garden where no crop is grown is cultivated to exhibit a growth of grass. trees, shrubs, or flowers with reference to the special beauty of each, as well as the beauty of harmonious arrangements. The per fectness of development of each part of a pleas ure garden is the object aimed at. (See LAND SCAPE GARDENING.) The garden becomes a park whenever freely used fur recreation by persons not interested in its special growth. Frederick Law Olmsted, the highest American authority on parks, suggests that small open spaces in cities, designed for public use. should be called places when not large enough to have grass and trees, and place-parks when barely large enough to have grass-plats and a few trees; that thoroughfare; planted with trees for special adaptation to promenades, or as avenues to parks, should he called parkways; and public forests without roads simply woods.
The practice of reserving public parks for the use and delight of the people seems to be as old as civilization. The Egyptians had parks from the earliest times. These were small and formal, ornamented with colonnades and other archi tectural features, and with sculpture. Very dif ferent were the parks of the Assyrians and later Persians, who reserved and lavishly decorated vast areas of mountain land. Little is known of the parks of the Greeks, but they were probably limited and formal, like those of the Egyptians. In Rome, however, in the time of there were, according to Lanviani, eight tamps or commons and thirty parks belonging to the city. (It these the most extensive was the Cam pus Alarthis. During the Ages public parks were little thought of, but the Renais sance is notable for the beautiful public gardens and parks which were then laid out and which are still the ornament of many European cities.
Another condition has favored the 1.xklence of accessible parks in European cities: Nearly every town formerly had its wall and surround ing ditches and reserve of open ground outside kept clear for military defense, all belonging to the State. These walls and adjacent grounds, before as well as after the fortifications were razed, were promenades of the people, and in modern tunes have been converted into parks and boulevards. Towns which have grown great
ly have had several successive circles of enclosing fortifications, thus providing, as in Paris and Vienna, several successive circles of public promenades, boulevards, and e0111111011,.
The area of parks in London is proportioned to the i111111e/ISity of the city. Duly a small part of them is broken by carriage roads, nearly their whole extent being dedicated to the exclu sive use of pedestrians. Its seven great parks are: llyde, containing about 100 acres, hiter sected by walks and carriage road; (including the famous saddle-horse road called Rotten Row), clothed with old forests. and graced by the lake called Serpentine; Kensington Gardens, an ad joining royal park of about the same size, farther fimu the city; Green, a smaller pedestrian park. by which Hyde Park may be approached; Be gent's, nearly circular, with 450 acres, and hav ing zoOlogic:d and botanie gardens; Victoria Park, with 290 acres; Battersea Park, 321) .u•res; Kensington Park. 20 acres. These are almost ex clusively for pedestrians, as well as the great Botanic. Gardens of New outside of London. ('ails is more noted for the elegant.e and great number of its place-parks and avenues for promenades than for real parks. The latter have become numerous of late years. and are even more recent than the Central Park of New York. The Bois de Boulogne. an ancient wood belonging, to .he Crown, was given to the about ls52. It contains 2.250 acres, not particularly interesting by nature, with no noble trees, but treated with all the graces of art possible to cover its natural detiviencies. Carriage drive; and promenade; traverse it in every part, and four artificial lakes are its most interesting feature. The most strik ing new park in they cityis the Buttes Chaumont. in the quarter oecupying the site of extensive old stone quarries. The Park Monceau is a smaller example of similar transformation. old gardens of the Tuileries, already alluded to. and the oardens of the Luxembourg. though more like gardens than parks in their tvomIo'nls are so completely used by the iodine that they fulfill all the mix's of parks. Paris is provided with park resorts outside of the city to a greater extent than any other city. .111 the old chideau forests and hUnting grounds .1f sneeessive kings of Frame are now the property of the State and furnish attractions in every direction from the eitv. Saint-Cloud. Versailles. VinovDnrx. :11111 F011 tainehleau, the last named one of the most pictu resque and extensive of old royal hunting forests, are the most noted. Smaller cities in France and throughout Europe abound in beautiful small parks contiguous to their population. most of which have been improvements of the last thirty years. made possible by the possession by munici palities of suitable ground previously used by the public, hut not specially improved for their enjoyment.