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Utica Parks and Parkways - The Earliest Years

Main Entrance to FT Proctor Park (image c/o the Oneida County Historical Society, Utica, NY) Original wooden bridge (Image c/o the Oneida County Historical Society, Utica, NY) On the Parkway (Image c/o the Oneida County Historical Society, Utica, NY)

Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects intended that Utica parks, particularly Roscoe Conkling/Valley View, be developed as "country parks". The firm's vision for Utica's parks, like most parks the firm designed, was intended to be rustic and bucolic. They envisioned open fields that resembled meadows and pastures and that would even include grazing cows and sheep!

The Proctor family had a different notion and vision about what Utica's parks should look like. They envisioned formal parks, like those popular in 19th-century France. Architects E.C. Whiting and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., spent a great deal of time educating the Proctor family about park design.

Whiting and Olmsted designed the parks to have large, open vistas. They designed Utica's parks with a natural feel, one that would recall farmland and bring a sense of the countryside to the heart of the City.

Roscoe Conkling Park was designed to have a naturalistic "feel" – one that favored native and non-native plant and animal life. At one time, Roscoe Conkling Park was a favorite territory of birds, including non-native pheasants.