To anyone who gardens, enjoys walking through nature, is conservation-minded or likes to get off of the grid, Frederick Law Olmsted’s name should ring a bell.Often called the “Father of American Landscape Architecture”, he was a titan among those who designed with nature, and an iconoclast during an industrial age that was built upon the grid.With his longtime partner, Calvert Vaux, he designed New York City’s Central Park from 1857 to 1876. He co- designed the Columbian Exposition World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893 with architect Daniel Burnham.He was a vigorous supporter of the conservation of natural areas when land for National Parks was being acquired by the government.He wrote vivid accounts of the antebellum south during the 1850’s, denouncing southern culture.
He left a lasting imprint all over the North America, and especially along Route 1.This trip is meant to give you a look at some of Olmsted’s most famous places, as well as to see those that may inform you about his career and his design principles. It will also take you to places where his design intentions were not fully realized.
A future trip may feature the work of Olmsted’s two sons, Frederick, Jr. and John Charles Olmsted, who continued his Landscape Architecture practice, after Olmsted Sr. became too senile to work in 1895 at age 73.
From the National Zoo website: “In 1889 President Grover Cleveland officially signed an act of congress into law creating the National Zoological Park for “the advancement of science and the instruction and recreation of the people.” Two years later, the animals who had been living on the National Mall had a new home. Frederick Law Olmsted, the premiere architect of the day, designed the Zoo within Rock Creek Park in northwest Washington, D.C., which officially opened in 1891.”
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What is now “Mecca” for most North American golfers had humble beginnings as a winter retreat in the sandhills of North Carolina.
Sudbrook Park, Maryland - Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted
During the 1850s, James Howard McHenry purchased about 850 acres in Pikesville, MD, just outside of Baltimore, and named it “Sudbrook Estate”. McHenry contracted with… See this View on the map
The City of Trenton purchased the Ellarslie Mansion in the 1880’s, along with about 100 acres of estate land. The Mansion now serves as the Trenton History and Fine Arts Museum. Frederick Law Olmsted was hired by the City to design the park landscape, which prompted the proponents of Trenton to call it “Trenton’s Central Park”, even though it lies well west of the city center.