Acquired in 1924
History and 2007 renovation
Park History: The 2.86-acre Brookland Park was established in 1924 as part of the Brookland Park Addition laid out by Byron J. Lambert, a civil engineer and land surveyor, chair of Civil Engineering, and chairman of the Iowa Athletic Control Board at the University of Iowa. Lambert’s prominent engineering career included the design of dams, water systems, steel stadiums, bridges, and Iowa City’s City Park Swimming Pool. He and his wife Helen built a home nearby at 4 Melrose Circle in 1923.
The park was established prior to construction of nearly all of the houses in its immediate surroundings. It was formally transferred to the City of Iowa City in December 1924 for use as municipal parkland. Its establishment came the same year that the University received a Rockefeller Foundation grant to build the new hospital on the west side of Iowa City.
The 83-year-old park is part of the much older Melrose Neighborhood, which was settled in phases beginning in the 1850s, when Melrose Avenue, originally called Snook’s Grove Road or the “Poor Farm Road”, was laid out as a state road to connect Iowa City to points west.
2007 park renovation - improvements include
Instead of a narrow straight stream that bisected the park and often flooded, there is an attractive, wide waterway with natural low falls over three areas of large rocks that provide stepping stones to cross the stream. In addition, there are two permanent paths over the stream.
The stairway and narrow path that prevented easy access are replaced by a wide, realigned walkway with period lighting and there is now a perimeter trail around the park.
The old shelter and play equipment have been replaced and additional attractive shrubs and trees have been added for color, texture and screening.
A new semi-circular multi-use plaza is surrounded by granite stones for seating.
At the entrance, in an attractive setting, there is a large granite stone bearing the name of the park and its establishment date of 1924.