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15 beautiful vintage photos and postcards of Fairmount Park

Snail mail was the best

In case you missed it, Philadelphia’s very own Fairmount Park was named one of the 15 greatest places in America by the American Planning Association this week. The 2,000-plus-acre park was recognized for being one of the country’s first efforts to protect "a municipal watershed by dramatically altering land uses to both mitigate pollution and create a space for public recreation."

Fairmount Park dates all the way back to the early 1800s, when the city established Fairmount Water Works as a way to provide clean drinking water to residents. The South Garden of the water works was designed in 1829 and is the oldest section of the park, according to the Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation.

Piece by piece, more acreage was added to the park, including the east and west portions in 1867 and 1868. Today, the 2,000-plus acres include more than a dozen historic homes like Strawberry Mansion, the Shofuso Japanese Garden, and the Horticultural Center, which replaced Horticultural Hall, once the biggest building in the world.

As an ode to the city’s biggest green space, let’s take a trip down memory lane with these 15 vintage photos and postcards of Fairmount Park.