FDR Park

FDR Park 1500 Pattison Avenue & South Broad Street

VAMONDE Philadelphia
Written By VAMONDE Philadelphia

FDR Park

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Park, originally named League Island Park and locally known as "The Lakes", is a park located along the Delaware River in the southernmost point of South Philadelphia, and includes a golf course, trails, and picnic areas with many ponds and lagoons.


The park was designed by Olmsted Brothers in the early 20th century. Land for the park came from reclaimed marshlands of Greenwich Island, which existed based on river channels in the 1700s and 1800s. The official name was changed from League Island Park to Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park in the late 1940s and a golf course was constructed. The park's boathouse, gazebo, and American Swedish Historical Museum are reminders of the 1926 Exposition that occurred in the park. In 2000, the park was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.


FDR Park is located on the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The Coastal Plain supports different plants and animals than the interior of Pennsylvania. Many of these distinctive plants and animals are rare due to extensive development in this area.

The ponds and lagoons are remnants of the tidal marshes and channel system which originally occupied the area between the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers. Draining and filling of these marshes began with the first settlement of the area by the Swedes in the early 1600s. This process culminated in the installation of a tide gate designed to permit drainage from the park into the Delaware River.

Important Bird Area (IBA)

Audubon Society of Pennsylvania has marked FDR Park as one of the best places in the city to watch birds, due to the variety of habitats, especially due to water marshes and ways in the park. Waterfowl is the most common type of bird that you can observe in the park, but you can see many different species during migration times.

In addition to mallards and Canada geese, the park attracts large numbers of northern shovelers, gadwall, wigeon, redhead, lesser and greater scaup, bufflehead, ruddy ducks, northern pintail, green-winged teal, hooded mergansers, ring-necked ducks, American black ducks, and other rarer duck species. And there are also pied-billed grebe, double-crested cormorants, American coots and other kinds of non-duck waterfowl. Many other birds have also been seen from warblers to raptors.

Points of interest

* American Swedish Historical Museum * Boat House at Meadow Lake * Gazebo overlooking Meadow Lake (favorite photo spot for brides and grooms) * Bellaire Manor ( built-in 1750 by Samuel Preston, trustee of William Penn's estate )

Information sourced from Wikipedia. Cover image courtesy of smallbones and sourced from Wikipedia (Public Domain)

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