Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted celebrated as originator of U.S. public parks system

Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted celebrated as originator of U.S. public parks system

The United States is blessed with a prosperity of parks, from town and county parks to a network of 52 state parks. That amount can be extrapolated nationwide. One particular man we can thank for the beginning of American park devices is Fredrick Legislation Olmsted.

April 26 marks the 200th anniversary of his birth, and Olmsted 200 is a movement celebrating his eyesight — a eyesight that incorporated general public parks for all folks.

He considered that parks are an vital part of any community. Not only do they give a accumulating put for loved ones and friends, but they make improvements to air and drinking water good quality, guard the groundwater and give a dwelling for birds and animals. Parks also support connect us to mother nature and give us options for wellness and perfectly-currently being, and they reinforce our communities.

Regarded as the father of American landscape architecture, Olmsted was born in 1822 in Hartford, Conn., and grew up in a family that valued character and the outdoors.

He taught himself architecture but to start with he was a seaman’s apprentice, a service provider, a farmer and a journalist. He traveled in 1850 to England as a journalist. This tour proved to be lifetime-transforming. He toured Birkenhead Park in Wirral, England, and experienced an epiphany. Birkenhead Park had opened in 1847 as the world’s initially publicly funded civic park. It held almost 140 landscaped acres and was open up to the general public for totally free.

Olmsted made a decision that park entry should really be a ideal for all Us residents, far too. Birkenhead impressed him to arrive again to the United States and get something started. His epiphany led to the development of Central Park in New York.

[Gallery not loading above? Click here for more photos »]


Central Park was the very first landscaped park in the United States.

Open up to the public in 1859, this significant public functions project took far more than two yrs to finish, with practically 50 million cubic yards of stone and soil moved, 36 bridges and 11 overpasses produced and 500,000 trees, shrubs and vines planted.

With the development of Central Park, Olmsted planted the seed for far more parks and at some point the development of a countrywide park program.

He worked with Sen. John Conness of California to designate Yosemite Valley as community land. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Land Act in 1864, developing what would sooner or later turn into Yosemite Nationwide Park. Olmsted also led a campaign to preserve Niagara Falls.

In 1916, his son helped draft legislation that aided create the national parks.

Though ideal known for his development of Central Park, Olmsted made hundreds of layouts, in excess of 30 many years literally defining the discipline of landscape architecture and illustrating how landscapes could enhance the human situation.

Though we imagine of Olmsted as a park maker, in simple fact he intended each individual form of landscape, like parks and parkway units, recreation areas, college campuses, urban and suburban areas, prepared communities, cemeteries and specific landscapes for arboreta and expositions.

Some of his other assignments include things like Boston’s Emerald Necklace, the U.S. Capitol, the campus of Stanford College in California, Belle Island Park in Detroit, and his last major function, the Biltmore Gardens in Asheville, N.C.

Olmsted retired in 1895, but his sons John Charles and Frederick Jr. continued the Olmsted Firm, which labored as a landscape architecture company for extra than 100 several years. out?v=xkS9bJEn4CM

[Video not showing above? Click here to watch »]


In 1980, a group of design and style and preservation industry experts and fascinated folks formed a coalition dedicated to progress the operate and legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted. Their mission is to advance Olmsted ideas and the legacy of irreplaceable parks and landscapes that revitalize communities and enrich people’s lives.

To commemorate the bicentennial of his delivery, Olmsted 200 was organized. With the topic “Parks for All People,” hundreds of situations will be celebrated throughout the United States this yr.

Arkansans are preparing various events.

◼️ The Minimal Rock Yard Club is sponsoring a significant university university student artwork contest with a cash prize of $200 for the winning entry. The deadline to submit an entry is April 8. Right here is a shortcut link:

◼️ At 6:30 p.m. April 14, the Central Arkansas Library Program is web hosting an on line webinar, “The Genius of the Location: Frederick Regulation Olmsted, Landscape Architecture and Arkansas.”

Kimball Erdman of the Fay Jones Faculty of Architecture at the College of Arkansas will communicate about Olmsted and the record of landscape architecture. Tom Hill of Scorching Springs National Park will converse on Olmsted’s quick come across with Arkansas and Chris East of StudioMain will tackle landscape architecture prospects adjacent to the Key Library in Tiny Rock. Ken McCown of the Fay Jones College will reasonable. The event is cost-free, but registration is necessary. Here is a shortcut url:

◼️ April 20, Garvan Woodland Gardens in Scorching Springs will host Olmsted Day.

◼️ April 22, P. Allen Smith will rejoice Olmsted Day at his farm Moss Mountain in Roland with a lecture, backyard garden tour and lunch. Check out

For a record of all the gatherings planned in the course of the year (extra will be included as they are organized) stop by and appear beneath “Be a part of the Celebration.”

Parks make better metropolitan areas and communities, building them vibrant and sustainable. Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision of community parks for all folks and parks’ capability to bolster communities and market general public well-currently being are a lot more vital than ever.

Janet Carson’s web site is at