Frederick Law Olmsted
2022 is the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted, Landscape Architect, Author, Conservationist
Discover events all over the U.S. and in Worcester at olmsted200.org
Frederick Law Olmsted (April 26, 1822 – August 28, 1903) was an American landscape architect, journalist, social critic, and public administrator. He is considered to be the father of landscape architecture. Olmsted was famous for co-designing many well-known urban parks with his partner Calvert Vaux. Olmsted and Vaux's first project was Central Park, which resulted in many other urban park designs. He headed the pre-eminent landscape architecture and planning consultancy of late nineteenth-century America, which was carried on and expanded by his sons.
The quality of Olmsted's landscape architecture was recognized by his contemporaries, who showered him with prestigious commissions. Daniel Burnham said of him, "He paints with lakes and wooded slopes; with lawns and banks and forest-covered hills; with mountainsides and ocean views ..." His work, especially in Central Park, set a standard of excellence that continues to influence landscape architecture in the United States. He was an early and important activist in the conservation movement, including work at Niagara Falls; the Adirondack region of upstate New York; and the National Park system; and though little known, played a major role in organizing and providing medical services to the Union Army in the Civil War
Other projects that Olmsted was involved in include the country's first and oldest coordinated system of public parks and parkways in Buffalo, New York; the country's oldest state park, the Niagara Reservation in Niagara Falls, New York; one of the first planned communities in the United States, Riverside, Illinois; Mount Royal Park in Montreal, Quebec; The Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut; Waterbury Hospital in Waterbury, Connecticut; the Emerald Necklace in Boston, Massachusetts; Highland Park in Rochester, New York; the Grand Necklace of Parks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Cherokee Park and parks and parkway system in Louisville, Kentucky; Walnut Hill Park in New Britain, Connecticut; the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina; the master plans for the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Maine, Stanford University near Palo Alto, California, and The Lawrenceville School; and Montebello Park in St. Catharines, Ontario. In Chicago his projects include: Jackson Park; Washington Park; the main park ground for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition; the south portion of Chicago's "emerald necklace" boulevard ring; and the University of Chicago campus. In Washington, D.C., he worked on the landscape surrounding the United States Capitol building.
Elm Park is a historic public park in Worcester. Originally called "New Common", the original 27 acres of Elm Park were purchased in 1854, thus making Worcester one of the first cities in the United States to expend public funds to purchase land for use as a public park. Edward Winslow Lincoln designed the original park which was later refashioned by Olmsted's firm. Read Al Southwick's history of the park.
CELEBRATE THE 200TH BIRTHDAY OF FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED and discover his legacy in Worcester with an exhibit at JMAC: April 20 - May 3, featuring the photography of members of the Worcester Garden Club.