login | register

The Arch City and Goodale: A “Modern Park”

The 33.4-acre Goodale Park was the first park in Columbus, a gift from millionaire Lincoln Goodale. In fact, Goodale Park was one of the first three “modern parks” in the nation.
Short North

Historical Context and Overview


The early growth and development of the Short North neighborhoods was stimulated by two separate developments: the creation of Goodale Park in 1851 and the GAR reunion in 1888.

The idea of the modern park began with the formation of three urban parks: Lafayette Park in St. Louis, a park near the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., and Goodale Park in Columbus. As cities became more populous and crowded, parks provided open space for city dwellers to walk, exercise, and play. The most well-known modern park in America is Central Park in Manhattan, which opened in 1857 on 843 acres. The 33 acres of land for Goodale Park was donated in 1851 by Dr. Lincoln Goodale, a Columbus physician and entrepreneur.

In April 1861, President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to end the South’s rebellion. Ohio Governor William Dennison encouraged Ohio communities to revive their local militias and send them to the state capital of Columbus. Goodale Park was temporarily converted to a camp for soldiers, and named Camp Jackson.

Following the Civil War, Union Army veterans established fraternal organizations to network and keep in contact with each other. The Grand Army of the Republic (the GAR) was founded in 1866 on the principles of “Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty.” The GAR promoted voting rights for black veterans and lobbied the Congress to establish veterans’ pensions. At its peak in 1890, the GAR had over 490,000 members. It held an annual “National Encampment” every year from 1866 to 1949. The GAR encampment was held in Columbus in 1888, bringing 200,000 people to the city of Columbus.

  • Standards Alignment
  • Learning Objectives
  • Discussion Questions
  • Extensions Activities
  • Additional Resources
Ohio’s New Learning Standards: K-12 Social Studies

Grade 3, Content Statement 3: Local communities change over time.

Grade 3, Content Statement 10: Individuals make the community a better place by solving problems in a way that promotes the common good.

Grade 8, Content Statement 15: The movement of people, products and ideas resulted in new patterns of settlement and land use that influenced the political and economic development of the United States.

Grade 8, Content Statement 22: Choices made by individuals, businesses and governments have both present and future consequences
Explain how the development of Goodale Park, the Civil War, and the GAR reunion changed Columbus.

Explain how Lincoln Goodale’s actions contributed to the common good.

Describe the long-term effects of the creation of Goodale Park.

1. What events in this segment show individuals making the community a better place?

2. What actions demonstrate that the people of Columbus were working to solve problems or promote the common good?

3. What were the economic incentives for Lincoln Goodale to create a park?

4. What was Goodale’s goal and what actions did he take to accomplish it?

5. What were the long-term consequences of Lincoln Goodale’s actions? How have we benefitted today?

6. In April of 1861, President Lincoln called for volunteers to end the South’s rebellion. How did this impact Columbus?

7. How did the 1888 GAR reunion affect the growth and development of Columbus?
Have students research one of the three parks mentioned in the video. Students can create a travel brochure for the park, including sections on the creation of the park, points of interest, impact of the park, map of the park, direction on getting to the park, and the organization responsible for the park.

Research the history of the parks movement in the United States. Identify one of the historical parks (e.g. Central Park). Analyze the conceptualization of, key events leading to and the launch of the park, and compare the beneficial and detrimental effects. Have students compare maps of a city at different times during its history, using resources such as the Oasis NYC tool.