About the Park
Designed in 1879, just before Thomas Edison's invention of the incandescent light bulb, Deering Oaks was apparently not lit at night for almost a century. This is in keeping with designer City Engineer William Goodwin's intent that Deering Oaks be enjoyed as a natural place, a "public breathing space", not a formal park. In fact, Goodwin stated in his 1881 Report, "The place can probably never become a park with expensive park-like structures and accessories, but will always be "the Oaks" whatever may be done in or about it."
But become a park it did, as the City grew and changed - and Deering Oaks changed in response. A bandstand was built in 1883. The Victorian duck house was built in 1887 and a fountain was also installed. The Castle was built in 1894 as a warming hut for skaters. A small playground was created in 1902. The public's use of the Oaks grew steadily and civic improvements continued.