Frick Park is the youngest and largest of Pittsburgh’s regional parks at 644 acres. Known as Pittsburgh’s woodland park for its extensive trails throughout steep valleys and wooded slopes, Frick Park is an ideal escape from the noise of the city.
When millionaire industrialist Henry Clay Frick told his 17-year-old daughter, Helen, that she could have anything she wanted for her debutante party in 1908, she asked for a park where the children of Pittsburgh could enjoy nature. Her wish came true and Frick Park was born. Pittsburgh residents can now enjoy woodland trails, playgrounds, tennis courts, lawn bowling and a nature center in Frick Park.
When Henry Clay Frick died in 1919, he bequeathed 150 acres south of his Point Breeze mansion, Clayton, to the City of Pittsburgh. Frick also provided a $2 million trust fund to assist with long-term maintenance for the park, which opened in 1927. Between 1919 and 1942, the money was used to purchase more land to enlarge the park, which now runs from Point Breeze into Squirrel Hill and Regent Square, borders Edgewood and Swissvale, and dips under the Parkway East to Swisshelm Park.
Original design plans for Frick Park were recently discovered. These plans, which originated from the New York landscape architecture firm of Innocenti and Webel, show comprehensive planning of the park from the years 1935 to 1957. Nationally prominent architect John Russell Pope was also discovered to be the designer of the entrance structures. These exciting finds emphasize the importance of preserving this elegant woodland treasure.
Park amenities include: education programming through the Frick Environmental Center, the Blue Slide Playground, the Playground at Forbes and Braddock, Frick Gatehouse, red clay tennis courts, a bowling green, and the nearby Frick Art & Historical Center. The many trails through the park’s steep valleys and wooded slopes are ideal for hikes alone, with families or pets. Patrons can also enjoy off leash dog areas, bird watching and mountain biking.
Due to a maintenance trust created by Henry Clay Frick, the park has a dedicated staff. Together with the Frick Environmental Center, the Citipark’s Frick Park Maintenance Crew ensure that it is a great place to experience nature year round.