Ann Arbor's city parks sit on the ancestral and traditional homelands of several indigenous Native peoples. Read a
land acknowledgement from the city and learn more about the early history of the land
The land that is now Furstenberg Park was owned by Huron Farms Company (later succeeded by Detroit Edison) until 1939. It was then purchased by Albert and Elizabeth Furstenberg. In 1971 the area was acquired for $90,000 by the City of Ann Arbor to “preserve and protect the Huron River Valley”. The purchase was financed with a H.U.D. Open Space Grant for use as “park purposes.”
The land was largely undeveloped as a park through the 1980s. In 1986 it was even used by the City for clean fill dumping. In 1992, several updates, including trails and benches, were added with the support of private donations toward the Dr. Edward O. Gilbert memorial fund. In 1993, a major grant was acquired from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to preserve the river frontage. These improvements were done in two phases and included a boardwalk, restrooms, parking, and a bridge connecting Furstenberg to Gallup Park. The bridge’s opening, along with the official grand opening of the park, happened in 1996. The landscape architect who designed these improvements, Peter Pollack of Pollack Designs in Ann Arbor, was given an award from the American Society of Landscape Architects for his design.
Check out the NAP Newsletter features that have featured Furstenberg:
1996 Park Focus: Furstenberg Park Nature Area by Deb Paxton
2005 Park Focus: Furstenberg Nature Area by Amanda Sprader
2018 Park Focus: Furstenberg Nature Area by Alex Cherry