In 1912, Emanuel Mische, Portland's park superintendent designed the park based on his experience as the longtime horticultural expert for the Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm. Inspired by the Olmstedian 'natural' landscaping approach, his plan included several distinct sections - the concert grove, Firwood Lake, children's lawn, plateau and broad meadows, picnic grove, and Rhododendron Hill. They also deepened the watering pond that existed as a watering hole for cattle into a 3-acre lake. In 1919, the park was named the most beautiful park on the west coast by the Pacific Coast Parks Association. In February 2001 it was named to the National Register of Historic Places.