Belle Isle Park is Detroit's signature green space. According to the city of Detroit's records:
"Detroit's city fathers purchased the 983-acre island in 1879 for $200,000, against the opposition of those who thought the price was too high. They elected to retain the name Belle Isle (beautiful island) by which the property was popularly known.
"In 1883, the designer of New York City's Central park, Frederick Law Olmstead, created the master plan for Belle Isle's transformation.
"By 1889, visitors could enjoy the park via the island's first wooden bridge.
"Olmstead also helped select Cass Gilbert's design for the mammoth Scott Fountain, chosen over 93 other entries in a nationwide competition. Among Gilbert's other achievements was the design of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.