Packer Park- Franklin Delano Rooservelt (FDR) Park, aka “The Lakes”
FDR Park in Packer Park is known to generations of South Philadelphians as “The Lakes”. Come enjoy its lagoon, creek and lakes nestled among the industry and neighborhoods of Packer Park in South Philly. FDR Park is Packer Park is a bird watcher’s paradise, and offers golf, tennis, rugby, baseball, softball, fishing & walking tours. Of special note is the FDR Skate Park, which was designed and built by local volunteer Packer Park skateboarding enthusiasts for the enjoyment of all. This skate park also attracts national and international visitors and professional skaters and bladers. Look for its deep, concrete bowls which are frequently featured in national skating magazines and videos.
FDR Park’s history began in 1914 when the now-legendary landscape architectural firm of the Olmstead Brothers designed the Park, then known as League Island Park. To build FDR Park, 300 acres of marsh in Packer Park were filled and regraded. This process was considered one of the more remarkable works of land reclamation of its day. In 1926, the Park hosted the national Sesquicentennial Exposition, a celebration of our nation’s 150th birthday. The Packer Park boathouse, gazebo and American Swedish Historical Museum are current reminders of the Exposition.
FDR Park’s existing waterways are remnants of the tidal marsh and channel system that originally occupied this area. The Packer Park FDR Lakes also includes two ecosystems that are nearly extinct in Pennsylvania – coastal plain forests and fresh water tidal marsh. Some improvements are gradually being made by the Packer Park Civic Association.
Points Of Interest: Bellaire Manor
Bellaire is one of the earlier houses in the park, constructed between 1735 and 1750. Originally overlooking a 142-acre working farm, the house now sits on the FDR golf course – talk about being close to the links! Its original owner, Samuel Preston, served as the trustee of William Penn’s estate and was the Provincial Treasurer. If you’re a true architectural historian, you’ll want to make a trek to FDR Park to check out this remarkable surviving building and its floor to ceiling interior wood paneling.
2000 Pattison Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19145
By appointment only.
By Michael Angelina
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