Patterson Park is frequented by neighborhood schools and churches for its athletic fields and is home to one of the two ice rinks available in the city. Two important architectural features of the Park included the boat house (1864, now extinct) and the pagoda (1891). Other architecture in the park reflected a number of styles, including Italian Villa, Gothic Revival, Exotic Revival and Romanesqe Revival that were designed to create an “eclectic” scene of images that would free visitors from the stresses of urban life.
Patterson remains most significant in that it is Baltimore's most intensively used large park and remains an outstanding example of 19th century park design. The site is surrounded by extensive rowhouse neighborhoods that rely solely on this park for open space.
The park is open from dawn until dusk. The Pagoda is open 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM on Sundays from mid-April to mid-October.
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
There is no fee to enter the park.
The star attractions are the boat lake (in which people are allowed to fish), the marble fountain, the General Casimir Pulaski Monument, and the Pagoda, also known as the Patterson Park observatory, which has a great view of the city and is considered to be a very nice building aesthetically. The sports fields are open for use to anyone who wants to play a game, and there are public tennis courts as well. Two playgrounds are also in the park, and there is a swimming pool open during the summer, and a skating rink during winter. During the summer and early autumn, several festivals are hosted at the park.
Before it was known as a park, the site of Patterson Park played a major role in the War of 1812, serving as the grounds where American troops stood ready during the decisive battle of North Point at "Hampstead Hill," the promontory in the park where the Pagoda is situated. In 1827, Patterson Park began life as a park with six acres of land donated by William Patterson, a wealthy shipping merchant, who hoped to create a "public walk," thus becoming the oldest park in Baltimore and the first gift of land given to a city for the purposes of public recreation. In 1860, the park was expanded and served as an Army hospital (Camp Patterson Park, 1862) and camp for Union soldiers during the Civil War (Camp Washburn).