The Pattersons and Their Contributions:
Patterson Park was named for William Patterson, who donated six acres of his 200-acre tract for a Public [sic] Patterson Park was named for William Patterson, who donated six of his 200-acre tract for a Public Walk, in 1827. This parcel of land, on the west side of what is now Patterson Park, formed the nucleus for the Park's future development. The high knoll was already a favorite promenade of East Baltimore, with picturesque views of the harbor, Rodger's Bastion (where the Pagoda now stands), and the rolling ravines of Harris Creek (now underground). Before his death in 1835, Patterson improved the fledgling park by planting several hundred trees of twelve varieties.
William Patterson was an Irish immigrant. He created a successful shipping business, and was known for this patriotism by greatly assisting his new country's Revolutionary War effort. He built up a great fortune, rivaling the richest man in Maryland, Charles Carroll of Carrollton.
Patterson invested his wealth in his shipping business and real estate. One such purchase was the 200-acre Roger's estate on Harris Creek in 1792. The property extended to the Patapsco River and wharves at the Baltimore basin. From the highest point on his land, Patterson could see his ships entering the harbor. Although his home was not on this future site of Patterson Park, it is said that he enjoyed his land.
Patterson made many contributions to America and to Baltimore, including his role as one of the founders of the B&O Railroad. But, he is perhaps best known for his daughter, Elizabeth (Betsy), and her ill-fated marriage to Jerome Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. Even though the union produced a child, Napoleon was so chagrined by the marriage, he forced Jerome to return to France and had a marriage annulled. Betsy was whisked away to England to bear their child (Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte), while Jerome (the father) became King of Westphalia.
Much of the neighborhood around the Park was owned and developed by Patterson heirs.