Elm Park is an historic public park in Worcester. Originally called "New Common", the original 27 acres of Elm Park were purchased in 1854, thus making Worcester one of the first cities in the United States to expend public funds to purchase land for use as a public park.
Shortly after its purchase, it was redesigned by the firm of Fredrick Law Olmstead, the same firm that designed Central Park in New York City. From 1874 to 1884 the basic plan for the park was put in place; pools, walks, and bridges were established for passive recreation pursuits.
In 1888, Newton Hill was purchased as an addition to the park, yet has remained as a separate "rustic" unit. In 1910, the Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm was hired by the City with an emphasis on playground planning. In 1970, the park was designated as a National Historic Landmark and a complete renovation was accomplished in the mid-1970s.
Elm Park is one of Worcester's most beloved park and open space assets. It is a historic park that was established by a progressive City looking to preserve open space for the enjoyment of its citizens. The most highly developed portion of the park is “Olmstedian” in nature and located to the south of Park Avenue. Much of the park's 58 acres are less developed (located north of Park Avenue) and typified by woodlands and trails. Numerous historic structures dot the landscape of Elm Park.
Elm Park is split in two by Park Avenue. Much of the west side of the park is wooded trails, but there is a lighted basketball court and four lighted tennis courts on the farthest western end at Newton Square. The eastern side of the park contains ponds for ice skating in the winter and two iconic bridges spanning Lincoln Pond in the middle of the park. This side also contains a playground and picnic area to enjoy.