While known as “Hampden’s Jewel Along the Jones Falls,” Roosevelt Park is hardly a diamond in the rough—its merits are plain to see. With 18.72 acres of space, the park has provided prime city recreation opportunities to neighborhoods along the Jones Falls for more than a century. There is truly something for everyone.
The history of the park dates to the late 19th century, when it was called “West Park” and adjoined the Hampden Reservoir. One of the earliest features was the recreation center, opened in 1911. After construction of the Loch Raven Dam in 1914, the Hampden Reservoir, along with other Baltimore reservoirs, became grounds for city park sites.
Soon thereafter, in 1919, West Park was incorporated into the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks system. Plans to expand the baseball grounds and convert the reservoir into a swimming pool quickly followed. In 1920, the site was rededicated as Roosevelt Park to honor the late President Theodore Roosevelt.
Prompted by residents of Hampden and Woodberry, the Roosevelt Recreation Center was one of the first established in Baltimore, continues to anchor the park and remains a cherished local institution. “The Rec” offers an extensive range of programs and events for children and adults, community meetings, league play for soccer, basketball clinics and a host of others.
Inside the park, situated directly behind The Rec, is a relatively recent addition—an 11,000-square-foot paved skate park. With plenty of ramps, surfaces and rail installations, it is a playground for the city’s skateboard, rollerblading and BMX population. An exciting redesign of the skate park is in the works, resulting from a partnership between the Mayor’s Office, BCRP, Hampden community and Skatepark of Baltimore organization. An entire overhaul and expansion is slated for the site that is to be christened the Skatepark of Baltimore.
Roosevelt Park is also home to fantastic swimming facilities. The large outdoor pool, with adjoining splash pad, is a refreshing oasis in the sweltering months of summer. Parents with younger children will delight in the fun design of the wading area while the rest of the family cools off in the main pool. The nostalgic Roosevelt Park Pool House, refitted with an award-winning design in 2009, rounds out the impressive aquatics at the park.
The Community Garden, located on the northwest corner of the park and along 36th Street, is another example of Roosevelt’s varied use. The City Farms program offers plots of land in the form of garden space that city residents can rent and cultivate.
For the sports-minded, Roosevelt also features an assortment of fields—baseball diamonds for softball and Little League play in the summer. A set of athletic fields is used for football games and soccer matches.
Improvements to the park stemming from the 2004 Master Plan, such as the Hampden Village Square, the re-location of the Community Garden and redesigned pathways, make Roosevelt Park an invaluable community asset. The recreation activity at park also helps contribute to Hampden’s vibrant art and retail area known as “The Avenue.”
See for yourself why Roosevelt Park is truly the “Jewel of Hampden!”
• Basketball Court
• Ballfields (4)
• Athletic Fields (2)
• Outdoor Pool
• Wading pool / kiddie pool
• Pool House
• Recreation Center
• Pavilion / picnic seating
• Community Garden
In Proximity to. . .
• Maryland SPCA
• Academy for College and Career Exploration
• Independence School
• Elm Park
• Wyman Park
• Druid Hill Park
• The Jones Falls
• “The Avenue”
• Roosevelt Park Master Plan
• City Park Rules
• Park Use Permits
Other Useful Links
• Skatepark of Baltimore
• Roosevelt Park and Recreation Center
• Hampden Community Council
• Roosevelt Park Pool House AIA Award