During the late 18th century, wholesaler Carl Magnus Fris turned the rocky terrain east of Waldemarsudde into a pleasure park with plantations and walks. Frisens Park is the oldest built park on Södra Djurgården.
Södra Djurgården’s pastoral and park-like landscape with its wealth of deciduous trees is mainly the result of the alterations undertaken in the first half of the 19th century by Karl XIV Johan and his senior game keeper Israel af Ström, known as the father of Swedish forestry. The area was revamped with pruning and major planting initiatives involving native trees such as oak, beech, elm and maple, and also foreign larch, park-linden and horse-chestnut. Marshes and moist areas were dug out and roads for vehicles and trails for strolls were constructed. Fences were removed. The new Djurgårdsbrunn Canal was created to make the park even more attractive, edged with avenues of trees and footpaths.
Nature’s unruliness had been cultivated into pleasant parkland. In 1841, Johan Fredrik Bahr described Södra Djurgården as follows:
‘To the right, shyly hiding between the oaks and other leafy trees is something midway between town and country, enjoying the nature of both and the pleasures of both. This is Djurgården…. It has, like time, moved forward, becoming cultivated and civilized. Finely ornamented delicate housing has replaced the older characterless timber cabins; elegant wooden fences have supplanted the previously slanted pole fencing and planks; everything is so polished and cared for, and undeniably more beautiful.’
The altered landscape and regulated environment resulted in a new use and a new category of visitor. Södra Djurgården attracted the fashionable Stockholmers while more ordinary people preferred the freer North side.