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Worcester,Mass - Places of the Past, Elm Park
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In 1854, Elm Park was purchased by Worcester from Levi Lincoln and John Hammond. It consisted of almost exactly 28 acres. The procurement of the nation's oldest parcel of land set aside for park recreation is attributed to our 4th mayor, John S.C. Knowlton (1853-1854).
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User Stories and Comments

The following are comments left about Elm Park from site visitors such as yourself. They are not spell checked or reviewed for accuracy.

Neil H Donahue - Report this comment
Not only the oldest park, but holds the title as being the First Public Park.
Pete Taylor - Report this comment
I used to live on Elm St right across from the park. The ponds were a wonderful place to ice skate in the evenings.
Jack Kenny - Report this comment
Learned to ice skate on Elm Park in the late 40's. In the summertime you could get to the island close to Park Ave. by stepping on rocks in the water. Across Park Ave. was Newton Hill. Great play area for us also.
In 1854, Elm Park was purchased by Worcester from Levi Lincoln and John Hammond. It consisted of almost exactly 28 acres. The procurement of the nation's oldest parcel of land set aside for park recreation is attributed to our 4th mayor, John S.C. Knowlton (1853-1854).
I used to live with my grandmother on Plesant street at the bottom of the hill. My Aunt, who is only a few years older, her and i used to go there and play every night after supper. Around 1949 and 1950 Later in life when my aunts were married their pictures were taken at the park. Looking at these pictures and many of the others bring back so many memories and also refreshens my memory of places i forgot about.
Gladys (Byron) Loftis - Report this comment
These pictures have sure brought back a lot of memories. My brother, mother and I would go skating there all the time in the winter. In fact it is where I learned to skate. Can still smell the smoke from the fires that were built to warm hands and toes while skating. I have a lovely 8 x 10 in color of the bridge crossing over the water. Will see about sending it along to chuck. Thanks again for the memories. Gladys (Byron) Loftis
Denyse (Abruzzise) Walbeehm - Report this comment
Elm park!!! My friends and family took me there as a child in the 70's and I remember one time a friend took me there for an afternoon and we sat under the trees and found TONS of pocket change! What's sad is that Worcester at one time was quite a city - my parents and grandparents had so many stories about so many places that I was never able to see or experience. Some of the places still exist but they're so run down and unloved that you can't even tell they meant anything to anyone. :( I guess I should be happy I had at least Elm Park.
Chuck Hintlian - Report this comment
In the early 40's we lived on Park Ave. just a few houses down from Elm Park. I tried really hard, but could never learn to stand on ice skates, but a cup of hot chocolate at Andy and Arthur's Spa on the corner of Park Ave. and Highland Street always made it better.
I Grew up in the area Elm Park is great diversity and socialbility exsists although out with the old and in with the new I will always cherish the precious memories of the park as well as the hill @ the top of the stairs ! A moment of silence for SMOKEY who passed on @ highland ST & west god bless
Jenn Charbonneau - Report this comment
I always thought Elm Park was nice and then I saw these pictures! It was much more beautiful in the past. Why can't the City of Worcester get to work on fixing it up. The bridges and the stones that surround the pond really need some work. Elm Park is something to be proud of! Let's make it beautiful again!
Neil H. Donahue - Report this comment
Elm Park may not have been the been the first public park according to New Yorkers. New Yorks Central Park celebrates 150 years in 2003 as the first public park.The nation's first major public park was born in 1853 when the legislature set aside 843 acres,with Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux chosen to design the vast landscaping.. Elm Park was 1854 , so I guess the debate goes on ,Who's on First....
Matt Hagopian - Report this comment
The Newton Hill section of Elm Park has recently had a great deal of work done by a local group called Friends of Newton Hill. They have done a lot of hard work clearing and marking the trails and removing litter. The area was looking pretty shabby in recent years, but this group of volunteers has made a huge difference.
Patricia Warren - Report this comment
Band concerts were held there for several weeks, July-Aug. in the mid to late 1950's. It was a great way to spend a Sun. evening.
Michael Anthony - Report this comment
I grew up on Dover Street, not far from Elm Park. We spent many days there when I was a child. Playing on the swings, ice skating, and skimming rocks on the water were just a few of the ways we spent time there.
30 second from elm park, across the street, and it is beautiful i spend alot of time there every day, great play ground and i am so amazed at how much great history is behind it!!!
Will Marengo (aka Sturtevant) - Report this comment
My earliest mememories of a park is Elm. My grandmother - Nana - would take me to feed the ducks. My family would have picnics there. My friends and cousins would skip summer school and hang out at the park all day. My first time on ice skates was at Elm. I'll take my family there when I come to visit. Very pleasant memories for me.
Arnold Savatsky - Report this comment
During the twenties & thirties I grew up only afew blocks from Elm Park. Some of my best memories was ice skating in the winter and enjoying it's beauty in the summer. Arnold Savatsky
Oh, can I forget the stairs! The stairs to Terabithia!! Lots of great childhood/teen memories! I miss Worcester!
I used to live in worcester and the park was beautiful
I loved skaking at Elm park. My family would walk down from Bancroft Tower Road where we lived. We all skated and then had hot chocolate and Devil Dogs across the street in a little place that has been replaced by various supermarkets. This was in the 1950's.
Tracey- January 20, 2009 - Report this comment
It is really a shame that the park is not now as nice as it once was. It is run down, broken benches, broken lights, stone walls around water falling apart. Worcester is not taking very much effort to perserve the landmark or maintain it. SUCH A SHAME!!!!!
jim sadowski- February 16, 2009 - Report this comment
Does anyone have info on that big rock/bolder aside Elm Park and Park Ave. In the 1950's an older Greek man "Mike" was always selling popcorn from an old windowed truck and a few other warm things, his winter parking spot was near that huge rock. I suspect the rock came from a short distance away and probably when Park Avenue was created between Elm Park and Newton Hill (once a problem for the City, being if Park Avenue should cut across Elm Park/Newton Hill). Would be nice if a small I.D. was placed near of on that rock saying it's history.
Polly- July 31, 2009 - Report this comment
How many wedding pictures have been taking at Elm Park?-What a nice tradition!!
richie- September 11, 2009 - Report this comment
I lived on Shawmut St just about 1/2 mile from Elm Park. During the early 1950's I used to go to Elm Park to fish in the pond. Boy, I just couldn't wait for the ice to clear in mid April. One day while fishing there as a boy of about 12, a woman walked buy and asked why I was fishing there, certainly there are no fish in the pond. About a minut later, I caught a pickerel about 2.5 - 3 feet long, and then ran ato the lady to show her the fish. I remember to this day the surprized look on her face. Elm Park, Elm Park. What memories....
Scott S- September 27, 2009 - Report this comment
The oldest park in America is Wilkes-Barre's River Common established in 1809. Sorry folks.
Bob Jefferson- January 13, 2010 - Report this comment
I also learned to skate there. Climbing the giant elms and the 'castle' looking entrance on Russell St. We also used to sink one gallon cans near the edge of the pond, go back a little later and pull them up to find crayfish. Great place as a kid in the 60's
Richard Bottcher- August 28, 2011 - Report this comment
Elm Park has a million memories for me all good. I realized how beautiful the trees were as a small boy. When my parents moved to Michigan I realized the developers just cut them down. So I ran for Supervisor of Shelby in Michigan and won. I helped save the trees here in my community. Thanks to old Elm Park--I never forgot.
Sleepless G- January 19, 2012 - Report this comment
I got married there on a beautiful day in 2008. I have attened numerous events there also. And its nice to just sit and watch the different people. Elm Park will always occupy a special place in my heart.
Cathy- January 23, 2012 - Report this comment
My Grandpa Bonczek was one of the welders for the Bridge in Elm Park. If u go under the bridge, u will see the names of the guys that built it. The blue-prints are in one of the that in the future...ppl would know what was done. My mom was born 1943, she grew up there....with home, grocery, ice skating, and telephone co....Anyone, know about the telephone co. at the end of the street?
Cathy- January 23, 2012 - Report this comment
Grandpa Bonczek signature is hang down by left arm and point with right arm
Patrice- April 14, 2012 - Report this comment
I too was one of the many who learned to skate on the pond in Elm Park. In my later years, I would drive by the park every day on my way to Clark University. Although I now live in CA, I can see the park in its winter glory. It was great to grow up in Worcester.
Peter Panagiotou- September 19, 2014 - Report this comment
That old Greek man named Mike with the lunch truck was my grandfather.
Carolyn- May 02, 2017 - Report this comment
A couple times a week my mother would take us to Elm Park. We played on the swings, walked around, ran around and fed the ducks bread crumbs. Often on Holidays we went to the park to take pictures.
Mike Xhemali- December 28, 2017 - Report this comment
Lived around this park from 99-2005,great memories for my family and Albanian-Greek community.
Andy- March 01, 2018 - Report this comment
As s kid I would fish the pond while my dad ran laps around the park. I loved fishing elm park. At one time they had huge foot long red gold fish that were fun to catch. For such as swallow pond it had good size large mouth, pickerel, horn put, etc. Enormous snapping turtles too.
Clinton Information- October 07, 2018 - Report this comment
Central Park in Clinton was given to the Town by the Bigelow family in 1852. Two years before Elm Park was built. It is still a public park.

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