Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.

Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.

Infobox Architect

name=Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr
mother=Mary Cleveland Perkins
father=Frederick Law Olmsted
birth_date=birth date|1870|7|24
birth_place=Staten Island, New York
death_date=death date and age|1957|12|25|1870|4|26 [cite book | author = American Council of Learned Societies
date = 1958 | title = Dictionary of American Biography | publisher = Scribner | id = ISBN 0684162261 | pages = 485
death_place=Hartford, Connecticut
practice_name=Olmsted Brothers
significant_buildings=Biltmore Estate
significant_projects=Washington, D.C.: National Mall; Jefferson Memorial; White House grounds; Rock Creek Park. Others: Bok Tower Gardens; Forest Hills Gardens; Lake Wales, Florida
awards=Pugsley Medal (1953)|

Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. (July 24 1870 - December 25 1957) was an American landscape architect best known for his wildlife conservation efforts. He had a lifetime commitment to national parks, and worked on projects in Acadia, the Everglades and Yosemite National Park. Olmsted Point in Yosemite and Olmsted Island at Great Falls of the Potomac River in Maryland are named after him.


Olmsted was born on Staten Island, New York, the son of Frederick Law Olmsted and Mary Cleveland Perkins, and stepbrother to John Charles Olmsted. After graduating from the Roxbury Latin School in 1890 [F. Washington Jarvis, "Schola Illustris: The Roxbury Latin School, 1645-1995", p. 344. Boston: David R. Godine, 1995. ISBN 1567920667.] and earning his bachelor's degree at Harvard University in 1894, he began his career as his famous father's apprentice on two significant projects: the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and the largest privately-owned home in the United States – the George Vanderbilt estate in North Carolina, famously called the Biltmore Estate. He became a partner in his father's Brookline, Massachusetts landscape architecture firm in 1895, and with Olmsted Sr.'s retirement, quickly took over leadership with his stepbrother. For the next half-century, the Olmsted brothers' firm completed thousands of landscape projects nationwide.

In 1900 Olmsted, Jr. returned to Harvard to teach, and he also established the school's first formal training program in landscape architecture. In 1901, he was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as a member of the Senate Park Improvement Commission for the District of Columbia, commonly known as the McMillan Commission, joining other notable personalities such as Daniel H. Burnham, Charles F. McKim and Augustus Saint-Gaudens, with a charge to "restore and develop the century-old plans of Major L’Enfant for Washington and to fit them to the conditions of today." In 1910, he was approached by the American Civic Association for advice on the creation of a new bureau of national parks. This initiated six years of correspondence, including this letter to the president of the Appalachian Mountain Club, January 19 1912:

"The present situation in regard to the national parks is very bad. They have been created one at a time by acts of Congress which have not defined at all clearly the purposes for which the lands were to be set apart, nor provided any orderly or efficient means of safeguarding the parks . . . I have made at different times two suggestions, one of which was . . . a definition of the purposes for which the national parks and monuments are to be administered by the Bureau."

His best contribution was of a few simple words that would guide conservation in America for generations to come (National Park Service Organic Act, 1916):

"To conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

Olmsted and his wife, Sarah Hall Sharples, whom he married on March 30, 1911, had one child.

By 1920, his better-known projects included plans for metropolitan park systems and greenways across the country. In 1928, while working for California State Park Commission (now part of the California Department of Parks and Recreation), Olmsted completed a statewide survey of potential park lands that defined basic long-range goals and provided guidance for the acquisition and development of state parks.cite web |url= |title=A State Park System is Born |accessdate=2007-07-28 |format=html |work=State of California ] and was a founding member and later president of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Under the leadership of John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the Olmsted Brothers firm employed nearly 60 staff at its peak in the early 1930s. As the last surviving family member in the firm, Olmsted, Jr. retired in 1949.

A partial listing of Olmsted, Jr. design projects in the nation's capital reads like a guide to the National Park Service-managed sites of Washington, D.C., including the National Mall, Jefferson Memorial, White House grounds, and Rock Creek Park. In his later years, Olmsted, Jr., actively worked for the protection of California's coastal redwoods. Redwood National Park's Olmsted Grove was dedicated to him in 1953, the same year in which he received the Pugsley Gold Medal. He was responsible for the original terrace-style 'master plan' layout of Cornell University, that is responsible for the large Arts Quad and Libe Slope. He also worked on: the Bok Tower Gardens; Forest Hills Gardens, New York; and Lake Wales, Florida.

Olmsted, Jr. is buried at Old North Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut.



*M. Christine Boyer, "Manhattan Manners: Architecture and Style, 1850-1900". New York: Rizzoli, 1985. ISBN 0847806502

USGovernment|sourceURL= National Park Service Biography: Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. Accessed: 2007-09-13

USGovernment|sourceURL= Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site Accessed: 2007-09-13

External links

* [ Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.] Persondata
NAME = Olmsted, Frederick Law, Jr.
SHORT DESCRIPTION = American landscape architect
DATE OF BIRTH = April 26 1870
PLACE OF BIRTH =Staten Island, New York, United States
DATE OF DEATH =December 25 1957

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  • Frederick Law Olmsted — noun United States landscape architect primarily responsible for the design of Central Park in New York City (1822 1903) • Syn: ↑Olmsted • Instance Hypernyms: ↑landscape architect, ↑landscape gardener, ↑landscaper, ↑landscapist …   Useful english dictionary

  • Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site — Infobox Protected area name = Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site iucn category = caption = locator x = 265 locator y = 50 location = Brookline, Massachusetts, USA nearest city = Boston, Massachusetts lat degrees = 42 lat minutes = 19… …   Wikipedia

  • Olmsted, Frederick Law — born April 26, 1822, Hartford, Conn., U.S. died Aug. 28, 1903, Brookline, Mass. U.S. landscape architect. He traveled throughout the American South in the 1850s and won fame for several books describing its slaveholding culture. During an… …   Universalium

  • Olmsted,Frederick Law — Olm·sted (ōmʹstĕd , stĭd), Frederick Law. 1822 1903. American landscape architect who was the chief designer of Central Park in New York City (1858 1861). * * * …   Universalium

  • Olmsted, Frederick Law — (26 abr. 1822, Hartford, Conn., EE.UU.–28 ago. 1903, Brookline, Mass.). Paisajista estadounidense. Viajó por el sur de EE.UU. en la década de 1850 y ganó fama por varios libros que describen su postura en favor de la esclavitud. Durante unas… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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