The park’s acreage was purchased by the city in 1869 from Nicholas Longworth, a prominent Cincinnati landowner who had previously used it as a vineyard. Longworth called his scenic estate the Garden of Eden, after the biblical place, and the name was retained for the park. The park area was originally designed by noted landscape architect Adolph Strauch, who also was responsible for Spring Grove Cemetery.
The city constructed a 12-acre, 96 million gallon reservoir between 1866 and 1878. The Eden Park Station No. 7 pumped water from the Ohio River into the reservoir and then into the Eden Park Stand Pipe.The reservoir was removed in the early 1960s and the site redeveloped as the Mirror Lake reflecting pool and baseball fields. The reservoir retaining wall, pumping station and standpipe still stand as historical remnants.
Eden Park holds a number of city landmarks and landforms. The 1904 Spring House Gazebo is the oldest enduring structure in a Cincinnati park, and as an icon of the entire park system it appears in the logo of the Cincinnati Park Board. The Park Board Administration building is situated by the Gilbert Avenue entrance.
The Elsinore Arch, built in 1883, serves as a natural entrance to the park. It is linked to the Cincinnati Art Museum via a flight of wooded hillside steps. The Art Academy of Cincinnati was formerly adjacent to the Art Museum; it has since relocated to Over-the-Rhine. Live entertainment venues include Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and the Seasongood Pavilion, a natural amphitheater built in 1959 and named for Cincinnati mayor Murray Seasongood.
The Krohn Conservatory is a Gothic Art Deco public conservatory completed in 1933. A flight of public steps lead from Krohn Conservatory to the Presidents’ Grove, a trail through a row of trees planted in honor of U.S. presidents. The first tree, an oak planted in 1882, honors George Washington.
The Twin Lakes area features a footbridge traversing adjoining lakes, at the site of a former quarry. Near the footbridge is a grove of buckeye trees, the state tree of Ohio. Public art at the Twin Lakes includes the Capitoline Wolf Statue, Cincinnati, a gift of the City of Rome, and the statue of a cormorant fisher, a gift from Cincinnati’s sister city Gifu in Japan. Two structures at the Twin Lakes, a concession stand and comfort station, were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1937.
A road from the Twin Lakes leads past the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and over the historic Melan Arch Bridge to the Eden Park Overlook near the park’s highest point. The Ohio River Monument stands overlooking the river valley. It was dedicated by President Herbert Hoover in 1929 to commemorate canalization of the river for year-round water transport.
photo: Eden Park, http://www.kentonlibrary.org/genphotos/viewimage.php?i=di12637