Back Cove

Black and white of dirt path on hill lined with benches and grass with some people sitting on bench
Back Cove

Olmsted Archives

Quick Facts
Portland, ME
Olmsted Designed Park
In 1895, Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot were hired by Portland, Maine’s mayor James Baxter to improve the site known as Back Cove. The firm proposed a dam that would form a saltwater pond, dredging the mudflats then building a tree-lined drive and promenade around the perimeter of Back Cove. While the dam was never built, ten years later the Olmsted’s would return to Back Cove, this time as Olmsted Brothers.

Based on a concept in their 1905 Plan for the Portland Park System, Olmsted Brothers proposed a new design for Back Cove, but work was halted when James Baxter lost his bid for re-election. Work started up again in 1911, with Portland’s engineers tasked with stabilizing the cove’s edges, grading the roads, and constructing sidewalks and bridges.

Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site

Last updated: October 5, 2023