Belle Isle

Belle Isle Park, Detroit, MI 48243


No visit to Detroit is too short to enjoy the splendor of historic Belle Isle, the crown jewel of Detroit's public park system. 

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. 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. Between 1903 and 1930 the Casino, Whitcomb Conservatory, and Livingstone Lighthouse were designed by Albert Kahn, who was also selected for the General Motors and Fisher Buildings. The nearly half mile-long bridge that takes you to Belle Isle today was originally constructed in 1923, and a meticulous renovation was completed in 1986. In 1942 the bridge was renamed after General Douglas MacArthur. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

 


 

 

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