Frederick, MD is blessed by many things and many people. But one of its greatest blessings is the foresight and effort made by a group of people led by Lloyd Culler and Joseph Baker way back in the 1930s to set aside a large portion of land to make a linear park going west from the downtown area. They took a swamp, basically, and rebuilt it into the gem it is today. It runs for about 10 blocks from the edge of Bentz St in the Historic District, out to the west of town along West Second Street. Within the part are many things of interest, starting with a fun playground and Bandshell and Gazebo and Bell Tower along the Bentz Street edge. (the old Armory Building is on the corner of the park there and offers many activities including a low-cost fitness facility on the lower floor). On Sunday afternoons at 3 in the summer there are small concerts by the excellent City Carilloneur on the beautiful bell tower's historic and restored Carillon. On Sunday evenings there is usually a free concert at the Bandshell. And down the slope nearby is the amazing waterfall that starts the flood control project that has transformed Frederick from an often-flooded city to a safe and dry city with a great new downtown park that happens also to control the waters from Carroll Creek. From the southeast corner of Baker Park, you can look at the waterfall and then turn and walk the length of the Carroll Creek Park into the downtown area, passing the historic Barbara Fritchie House and walking all the way to the fabulous Community Bridge and the amazing Delaplaine Arts Center (do go in and enjoy that great place!). So Carroll Creek Park is adjacent to Baker Park, further extending the many walking opportunities in this city. But we are reviewing Baker Park, so turn back to the Waterfall and start walking. You can walk west on a lovely little path along the Creek. It goes through a little tunnel beneath College Ave and takes you all along the willow-lined Carroll Creek, full of ducks, geese, nesting birds including Kingfishers, and the occasional beaver. You come to a very large children's playground and covered picnicking area. There are comfortable memorial benches throughout the Park where you can rest and do some people-watching. See the famous, restored Swinging Bridge going over the creek to your left and up to Parkway School. Then you come to the wonderful swimming pool, which anyone can use for a small fee. Walking on along the path, you pass tennis courts, ball fields, and then you cross College Terrace and come to Baker Park's most enchanting feature: Culler Lake. There is a path all around it. In the middle is a fountain. The lake is filled with water birds including a resident blue heron and an astrounding flock of beautiful Night Herons, who nest at the western end of the lake in the tall White Pine stand there. If you crane your neck and look closely, you can see them up there in the trees all summer, raising their young. Beyond Culler Lake, there is a baseball diamond and then an adorable red covered bridge, for walking only. There are crawfish in the Creek and kids enjoy wading in it near that bridge. Passing that, you are able to continue walking across the fields or on paths or sidewalks another block to Schifferstadt, Frederick's oldest house. It sits on the corner of Rosemont Ave and West Second Street and is open on weekends for tours, and often has some kind of weekend festival going on on its grounds. Schifferstadt marks the western terminus of Baker Park. A good place to park is near Schifferstadt on West Second Street. Just get off Rte 15 north at Rosemont Ave, come down to the light, cross Rosemont and look for a parking place on West Second. Then walk into the Park at that point and reverse the trail I have described above, going from West to East. That way, you can walk the length of Baker Park and then the length of Carroll Creek Park and get a fine, 3-mile walk down and back.
So that is a description of Baker Park, created by people 80 years ago so that all of us can enjoy beautiful open space, flowering trees, a flowing creek, a lovely little lake, recreational facilities, lots of free outdoor concerts and festivals, or maybe just the peace a quiet of a walk through a place where everyone is enjoying themselves. THIS is what a community park should be!!!!
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