For some time the man who helped bring Birmingham’s park plan into fruition was unknown, his letters lost in the many collections of the Library of Congress. But now, The Birmingham Historical Society is celebrating the publication of Hand Down Unharmed, a collection of letters and materials that explain the genesis of the Birmingham park system in the words of those who did it. Tonight the Historical Society will have their annual meeting, which is open to the public. The meeting will feature a short talk by co-editors of Hand Down Unharmed, Katie Tipton and Marjorie White, on “The Man Who Brought Olmsted to Birmingham.” Tipton and White’s talk will explain how timber trader and Maryland native M. P. Phillips recruited the most talented and successful park designers in America to design Birmingham’s park system. The Olmsted Brother’s firm was responsible for the beautiful park systems of major cities like Boston, Baltimore, Seattle and Chicago. In addition to his work with the parks, Phillips arranged to donate his fortune to Birmingham-Southern College before his death in 1925.
To find out more about one of Birmingham’s first open spaces advocates come out the Birmingham Botanical Gardens Auditorium tonight, February 19th, at 7:30 p.m.