During the past year, historians at Mead & Hunt, Inc. have evaluated two major urban parkway systems in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Omaha, Nebraska. The evaluation of the Milwaukee County Park System is part of mitigation efforts resulting from Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. It will result in a National Register Multiple Property Document and three National Register nominations for distinct parkway units within the system.
Charles B. Whitnall, a local resident and horticulturist, envisioned the Milwaukee County Park System in 1906. His vision called for an 84-mile county parkway system designed with attention to the many waterways that encircle the city and county, and integrated green space with individual park units and an expanse of parkways. Although the county developed plans for parks and parkways in the 1920s, implementation was not completed until the 1930s, with federal relief funding and work programs. The Milwaukee County Park System is a significant example of Depression-era parkway development and community planning in Milwaukee County
Work on the Omaha Park and Boulevard System is resulting in a National Register nomination being prepared for the City of Omaha and Nebraska State Historical Society. Noted landscape architect H.W.S. Cleveland worked on the Omaha Parks and Boulevard project between 1889 and 1894. During this period, Cleveland oversaw the acquisition of parkland and provided recommendations for the design of a web of parks and boulevards that stretched across the city. Cleveland’s plan, largely implemented after his direct involvement, included additions to the system for recreational facilities. The system had an important role in elevating the quality of life in Omaha and in providing recreational opportunities to residents. The Omaha Park and Boulevard system is significant as an example of a designed landscape and for its association with a nationally known landscape architect.
Chad Moffett, ASLA, works for Mead and Hunt, Inc. a firm that provides specialized services in documenting and evaluating historic landscapes. He can be reached at email@example.com.