Created in 1827, Capitol Park is Maine’s earliest documented designed landscape. Augusta residents donated 34 acres overlooking the Kennebec River for the future State House and landscape and planted a formal allée of elms as a dignified setting for the Capitol. In 1920 Governor Carl Milliken commissioned the Olmsted Brothers, represented by Carl Rust Parker, to prepare plans for the grounds of the Governor’s mansion (Blaine House), State House, and park. The firm completed designs in 1920 and consulted sporadically until about 1929.
Parker’s design reinforced the park’s relationship to the State House, with wide gravel paths between four rows of historic elms and a formal granite entryway, and also included large expanses of lawn for public gatherings, a grove for public speaking, and a bandstand. The plan also called for tennis courts, a garden with native trees and shrubs, a zoo with native animals, and paths that led to scenic views of the river. Due to limited funding only parts of Parker’s plan were completed, and the zoo and gazebo were never built. Dutch elm disease killed the allée of elms, which has been replanted with hardy deciduous trees. Capitol Park was listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and as part of the Capitol Complex Historic District in 2001.