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Frederick Law Olmsted, Father of American Landscape Design

(1822 - 1903)


Frederick Law Olmsted

Frederick Law Olmsted

Photo: ClipArt.com Central Park, New York City

Central Park, New York City. Photo: ClipArt.com

Photo: ClipArt.com

Frederick Law Olmsted was a landscape architect before the profession was founded. He was a visionary who foresaw the need for national parks, devised one of America's first regional plans, and designed America's first large suburban community.

Born : April 26, 1822 in Hartford, Connecticut

Died: August 28, 1903

Famous Works by Frederick Law Olmsted:

Frederick Law Olmsted's Partnerships:

Olmsted joined with English-born architect Calvert Vaux to enter the Central Park design competition. Their plan won, and the pair worked as partners from 1865 to 1872. Together they designed many parks and planned communities, including Riverside, Illinois, which is known as America's first modern suburb.

After Olmsted's death, his stepson, John Charles Olmsted (1852-1920), his son, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. (1870-1957), and their successors continued the landscape architecture firm Olmsted founded. Records show that the firm participated in 5,500 projects between 1857 and 1950. See Olmsted Escapes for a gallery of projects.

Other Professions of Frederick Law Olmsted:

Although Olmsted is famous today for his landscape architecture, he did not discover this career until he was 35. During his youth, Frederick Law Olmsted pursued several professions. Olmsted became a respected journalist and social commentator. Traveling through the southern United States, Olmsted wrote treatises against slavery. Olmsted's book A Journey in the Seaboard States was not a great commercial success, but was highly regarded by readers in the Northern United States and England.

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