History

For more than 130 years, Louisvillians have experienced the enjoyment and satisfaction of purposely preserved green-space as part of our city’s development.  Since 1880 when Louisville inaugurated its first public park (Baxter Square) until the now, the acquisition of more than 12,500 acres has guaranteed our citizens and those visiting an opportunity to become immersed in beautiful vistas and valleys, while just miles away experiencing the steep hillsides of old-growth timber and the beauty of riverfront views and access to the original Great Lawn in the West. Louisville’s Park System is one of the oldest in the country thanks to the foresight of the Board of Park Commissioners established in 1890.  Their first order of significant business was the successful recruitment of Frederick L. Olmsted, the father of Landscape Architecture.  Olmsted was able to realize the dreams and interpretations of our forefathers.

Over the years, Parks and Parkways played a significant role in the development of our city with the acquisition and development of Louisville’s three flagship parks:  Cherokee, Iroquois and Shawnee parks before 1900.  Louisville also boasts one of the country’s first public golf courses (Cherokee Golf Course), which opened in 1900.

Today, Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation manages 120 parks on more than 12,700 acres throughout the county, with additional responsibilities of 12 Community Centers, 4 Swimming Pools, one (1) Aquatics Center, 16 Spraypads, 14 Spraygrounds, nine (9) Golf Courses/two (2) Youth Courses, two (2) Historic Homes, One (1) Extreme Skate Park, two (2) Outdoor Amphitheaters, five (5) Cemeteries, and so much more.

More Parks History