In 1879 Olmsted helped to
prepare a special report for the New York State Survey of the area around Niagara Falls.
At the time, only a small portion of the falls
were visible to the tourist. Olmsted felt that many people were losing out on the vast
beauty and its soothing power that the Falls had to offer.
One key point was Goat Island, an island which
separated the Canadian and US Falls. Olmsted felt that this island was of vast importance
to the well being of the areas vegetation.
In 1833 the New York Governor, Grover Cleveland,
signed a bill into law that created a reservation at the Falls.
With the commission given to Olmsted and Vaux the
two went about purchasing Goat Island as well as neighboring Bath Island, which had a
small factory on it. They returned them to their natural glory and added foot paths. They
also tore down an amusement park on the mainland and in its place they built a reception
hall and picnic grounds.