D. A. Tompkins
Interestingly, especially in relation to subsequent developments, Tompkins advocated that the park remain as much as possible in its natural state. "Put a few walks and drives through it, set out a few trees where the work of nature has been destroyed, but for the rest, 'let it be,'" he advised. Unfortunately, Independence Park has not been as fortunate in retaining its natural setting as Tompkins had desired. On October 21, 1904, the Charlotte Observer reported that the City had selected the name Independence Park. The Board of Aldermen created a Park and Tree Commission on November 7, 1904, to supervise the construction of the facility. Not surprisingly, Tompkins became chairman.The Commission moved ahead with dispatch. By June 1905, it had established contact with several landscape architects for purposes of soliciting proposals. The winner of this competition was John Nolen (1869-1937), a student in the School of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University. The design of Independence Park was the initial commission in what would become an illustrious career. Nolen was one of the premier landscape architects and comprehensive planners in the United States. It is noteworthy that Tompkins and his associates would demonstrate such care in selecting the designer for Independence Park. This scrutiny was a manifestation of their commitment to making Charlotte a grand and majestic city. In the opinion of the Charlotte News, it was the duty of the Park and Tree Commission "to make Charlotte famous for the beauty of its parks." '