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City of Philadelphia

Philadelphia Park System History

Historic preservation and cultural resource management is a core value within Philadelphia Parks & Recreation's mission and is an important economic catalyst for the park system. The breadth and scope of historic resources within Philadelphia Park & Recreation (PPR) spans hundreds of years of history and includes Native Americans, founding fathers, architectural masterpieces, landmark sculptures, gardens, industrial landscapes, farms, cemeteries and William Penn’s legendary “greene country” squares. With more than 200 historic buildings (50 years or older) and 250 pieces of sculpture, PPR has one of the largest collections of cultural and historic resources in the Commonwealth.
Founded in 1855, Fairmount Park represents one of the earliest endeavors in the American park movement. Today PPR's Planning, Preservation and Property Management Division seeks to protect and interpret significant natural, historic and cultural treasures throughout Philadelphia.

Planning, Preservation and Property Management

Technical Assistance
  • Building and landscape preservation
  • Preservation planning and designation
  • Historic collections management
  • Interpretative programs
  • Project development and archaeology 

Assist Friends Organizations
  • Enhance programs
  • Properties and collections within the park system.

Fairmount Park Conservancy Partnership

Our partners at Fairmount Park Conservancy provide architectural conservation to PPR properties, including masonry conservation, wood conservation, the restoration of historic interiors, and public art conservation.

Philadelphia Firsts

  • Zoo
  • Botanical Garden
  • Paper Mill
  • Municipal Water Works

PPR Properties

Some PPR properties are available for long-term leasing and adaptive reuse.

Please note that PPR properties can’t be leased for private residences and must be open to the public in some approved capacity.