A celebration of the life and work of Frederick Law Olmsted, founder of American landscape architecture.



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...Frederick Law Olmsted's work has passed the test of time; his work in Druid Hills set the stage and continues to influence metro Atlanta...
-Tina Fountain

A Short Biography

Olmsted was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1822. Between 1837 and 1857, Olmsted performed a variety of jobs: he was a clerk, a sailor in the China trade, and a farmer, as well as many other professions. He moved to New York in 1848 and in 1857, without having ever had any college education, Olmsted became the superintendent of New York's Central Park

As the superintendent of the park he served as the administrator and then architect-in-chief of Central Park's construction. Next, he served as the administrative head of the US Sanitary Commission, which was the forerunner of the American Red Cross. Finally his last job, before forming his own firm, was that of the manager of the vast Mariposa gold mining estate in California.

In addition to designing for urban life, Olmsted was anxious to preserve areas of natural beauty for future public enjoyment. He served as the first head of the commission in charge of preserving Yosemite Valley and was a leader in establishing the Niagara Reservation, which he planned with Calvert Vaux, in 1887.

Between 1872 and 1895, when he retired, Olmsted's firm carried out 550 projects. These projects included college campuses, the grounds to the US Capitol, and residential communities.

In late 1895 he suffered a mental breakdown and spent his remaining years resting in an Asylum in Waverly Massachusetts. In August 1903 he died.

It was not until 20 years later did people begin to realize the impact and grandness of Olmsted's work, and the vast wonders that he had left the world.

  1820s and 1830s






  1890s and 1900s

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