Some surprising facts from Patrick Lamson-Hall's great class on the park's history:
- The north part of what is now Prospect Park was once a dumping ground for trash. People avoided it: It was smelly, and somehow, they thought this caused venereal diseases.
- Prospect Park is the only urban Revolutionary War battlefield that still largely looks the way it did at the time of the battle.
- After designing Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted managed a mine in Calfornia. He wanted to get rich. But, luckily for us, the mine went bankrupt, and he came back to New York to work with Calvert Vaux on Prospect Park.
- Most of the structures in the park were built using materials found within the parklands.
- Olmsted and Vaux's original vision for the Long Meadow included scattered sheep and cows to give a sense of scale.
- Picnicking was very trendy in the park's early years. Central Park prohibited picnicking, so Prospect Park was the place to go. At one point, there were over 1200 picnic tables.
- In the pre-air-conditioning days, the park was surprisingly safe, and people would bring sheets and blankets and sleep around the lake.