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Learn a little about some of the landscapes below or visit Olmsted Research Guide Online or Olmsted Worldview to discover an Olmsted-designed landscape near you.

 
 
black and white photograph of crowd of people walking along a large dirt path. Both sides of the path have dense trees covering it.
Job #902, 00902-01-ph78 400 dpi, Arnold Arboretum, Boston, MA

Olmsted Archives

Arboreta and Gardens

"We want a ground to which people may easily go after their day’s work is done, and where they may stroll for an hour, seeing, hearing, and feeling nothing of the bustle and jar of the streets, where they shall, in effect, find the city put far away from them… What we want most is a simple, broad, open space of clean greensward, with sufficient play of surface and a sufficient number of trees about it to supply a variety of light and shade… We want depth of wood enough about it not only for comfort in hot weather, but to completely shut out the city from our landscapes."

-Frederick Law Olmsted on his design intent at Arnold Arboretum
 
Black and white photograph of large building with dome on top and large intricate arch in the middle. The grounds in front of the church are well manicured with bushes along the road.
Job #9992, 09992-04-ph134, National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.

Grounds of Churches

The Olmsted firm did not get too many commissions for churches, which makes sense considering the focus would be on the structure, not the landscape. Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. would only design one church, Brookline's First Parish Church, down the road from his home and office at Fairsted.
 
Black and white photograph of large white symmetrical building with a manicured garden out front and the peaks of mountains rising behind it.
Job #6451, 06451-01-ph16b, Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs, CO

Olmsted Archives

Country Clubs, Resorts, Hotels and Clubs

The Olmsted firm would work to implement the first golf course within a planned community, and the success of that project led to the Olmsted's involvement in some of the most popular clubs of the time.

 
Black and white photograph of large building with many windows with garden in front. Garden has a stone path going to a fountain, which is surrounded by plantings, with some grassy space.
Job #7132, 07132-01-ph019, Virginia Hot Springs Company, Hot Springs, VA

Olmsted Archives

Grounds of Commercial and Industrial Buildings

Grounds of commercial and industrial buildings would be a late addition to the firm's design work. From banks, nursuries, life insurance companies, corporate headquarters, shopping centers and manufacturing facilities, these designs would expand as the nation's economy did.

 
Black and white photograph of intricate, white stone cross on grass, surrounded by different trees and bushes.
Job #6803, 06803-01-ph16, Carnegie, Andrew Mrs. Burial Lot, Tarrytown, NY

Olmsted Archives

Cemeteries, Burial Lots, Memorials and Monuments

Designing landscaped grounds for the final resting places for many clients was an appropriate extension of the Olmsted firm’s work. For Olmsted, there was an inherent conflict in creating a place of suitable expression of “those feelings, sentiments, and aspirations which religion and civilization make common to all in the presence of the dead” and achieving his ideal of landscape beauty where the ground was of necessity “cut up” into small divisions.
 
Black and white photograph of brick path leading to large home. The path is lined by flowers, and on one side is a wall with vines, the other with more plantings, some in vases.
Job #3492, 03494-185, Chester Thorne, American Lake, WA

Olmsted Archives

Private Estates and Homesteads

Although parks and park systems were initially the major area of endeavor for Frederick Law Olmsted and his partners, domestic design increasingly became an important component of the practice as transportation improvements extended suburban enclaves beyond city boundaries. For Frederick Law Olmsted, the concern was to create tasteful domestic settings, artistically coherent, appropriate in scale and unblemished by extravagant materialistic displays. He sought to enhance natural site features to create a series of separate spaces, giving the home its distinctive character.
 
Black and white photograph of white stone building behind a large open green space. The green space has paths that cut through it, which are lined with plants.
Job #5661, 05661-01-ph140, Cleveland Art Museum, Cleveland, OH

Olmsted Archives

Grounds of Public Buildings

The nineteenth century planning for public buildings by Frederick Law Olmsted was characterized by its curvilinear grace, stately proportions and firring enhancement for the structure to be served. In the City Beautiful period, the firm designed grounds of public buildings with more axial formality, to serve as decorative anchors for the municipalities.
 
Black and white photograph of path leading up to large building. The path is lined with trees and there are stairs up to the building. The whole image is symmetrical.
Job #98, 00098-01-ph003, McLean Asylum, Belmont, MA

Olmsted Archives

Grounds of Residential Institutions

Residential institution projects range in dates from the years of Olmsted’s partnership with Calvert Vaux (1865-1872) to the later years of the Olmsted firm in the 1970s. The residential institutions for which Frederick Law Olmsted and the successor firm provided landscape plans, most of which date from the twentieth century, were designed by a variety of architects, some well-known and some not so well known.
 
Black and white photograph of birds-eye view of a city by the water dominated by green patches between the buildings
Job #3606, 03606-01-ph85, Andorra Realty Company, Isle of Pines, CU

Olmsted Archives

Subdivisions and Suburban Communities

The suburban and town planning work of Olmsted and his sons clearly demonstrates the full range of social, economic, and environmental concerns that their designs addressed. While much of the subdivisions work took place in the northeast, the firm was active across the country and in Canada, particularly in cities in which it would have been familiar to clients through its work on urban parks and regional or state park systems.
 
Black and white photograph of sidewalk with grass on both sides and a street on one side and a few buildings on the other. At the end is a street sign pointing to Park Place
Job #3471, Spokane Improvement Company, Spokane, WA

Olmsted Archives

City and Regional Planning and Improvement

No aspect of the Olmsted firm’s work is more important- and more often overlooked- than its contribution to the history of city and regional planning in the United States. By the early twentieth century landscape architects were expected to collaborate with engineers, architects, lawyers, and others to devise a range of regulatory and design solutions to the problems of urban growth.
 
Black and white photograph of flamingos in front of a body of water with Lilly pads ontop. Behind the birds there is a wooden box, and lush thick trees
Job #7029, 07029-01-ph175, Edward Bok Sanctuary for Birds, Mountain Lake, FL

Olmsted Archives

Parks, Parkways, Recreation Areas, and Scenic Reservations

The purpose of a park was to provide city dwellers with an experience of extended space that would counteract the enclosure of the city by providing “a sense of enlarged freedom.” Olmsted believed every city needed public green space, providing the most effective antidote to the debilitating artificiality of the built city and the stress of urban life. The park made possible what he termed “unconscious” recreation, whereby the visitor achieved a musing state, immersed in the charm of naturalistic scenery that acted on the deepest elements of the psyche.
 
Black and white of snow capped mountains high in the sky
Job #8099, 08099-06-ph002, Yosemite National Park, CA

Olmsted Archives

Parks, Parkways, Recreation Areas, and Scenic Reservations (Continued)

The purpose of a park was to provide city dwellers with an experience of extended space that would counteract the enclosure of the city by providing “a sense of enlarged freedom.” Olmsted believed every city needed public green space, providing the most effective antidote to the debilitating artificiality of the built city and the stress of urban life. The park made possible what he termed “unconscious” recreation, whereby the visitor achieved a musing state, immersed in the charm of naturalistic scenery that acted on the deepest elements of the psyche.
 
Black and white open field with many trees around with many tennis courts and players in the center.
Job #918, 00918-11-ph186[a] front 400 dpi, Franklin Park, Boston, MA

Olmsted Archives

Parks, Parkways, Recreation Areas and Scenic Reservations (Continued)

The purpose of a park was to provide city dwellers with an experience of extended space that would counteract the enclosure of the city by providing “a sense of enlarged freedom.” Olmsted believed every city needed public green space, providing the most effective antidote to the debilitating artificiality of the built city and the stress of urban life. The park made possible what he termed “unconscious” recreation, whereby the visitor achieved a musing state, immersed in the charm of naturalistic scenery that acted on the deepest elements of the psyche.
 
Black and white of body of water with trees and grassy area surrounding
Job #601, 00691-01-ph24 400 dpi, Beardsley Park, Bridgeport, CT

Olmsted Archives

Parks, Parkways, Recreation Areas and Scenic Reservations (Continued.)

The purpose of a park was to provide city dwellers with an experience of extended space that would counteract the enclosure of the city by providing “a sense of enlarged freedom.” Olmsted believed every city needed public green space, providing the most effective antidote to the debilitating artificiality of the built city and the stress of urban life. The park made possible what he termed “unconscious” recreation, whereby the visitor achieved a musing state, immersed in the charm of naturalistic scenery that acted on the deepest elements of the psyche.
 
Black and white of many rocky mountains of different ledges
Job #9626, 09626-10-ph15, Colorado River Basin Recreational Survey, CO

Olmsted Archives

Parks, Parkways, Recreation Areas and Scenic Reservation (Continued)

The purpose of a park was to provide city dwellers with an experience of extended space that would counteract the enclosure of the city by providing “a sense of enlarged freedom.” Olmsted believed every city needed public green space, providing the most effective antidote to the debilitating artificiality of the built city and the stress of urban life. The park made possible what he termed “unconscious” recreation, whereby the visitor achieved a musing state, immersed in the charm of naturalistic scenery that acted on the deepest elements of the psyche.
 
Black and white photograph of brick building, like a castle, in front of an open green space with scattered trees and a walking path cutting through it
Job #9043, 09043-01-ph39, Notre Dame, University of, South Bend, IN

Olmsted Archives

College and School Campuses

Frederick Law Olmsted was of a generation of social thinkers who gave credence to the notion that the physical environment of learning- buildings and grounds- played a significant role in the success of education. he names of many well-known colleges and universities, such as Wellesley College, Johns Hopkins University and Princeton University, highlight the list of commissions from institutions of higher education.
 
Black and white photograph of large white building with Roman like columns. In front of the building is a large group of people, some sitting, some walking.
Job #274, 00274-02-ph003, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, IL

Olmsted Archives

Exhibitions and Fairs

Frederick Law Olmsted and the Olmsted Brothers played a significant role in planning and designing some of the nation’s most influential exhibitions and fairs. After Frederick Law Olmsted’s death, the Olmsted Brothers continued the legacy by designing a number of other fairs and expositions.
 
Black and white photograph of large white tower with clock at the top center in a grassy area surrounded by few trees.
Job #6123, 06123-01-ph07, Lake Wales Town Clock, Mountain Lake, FL

Olmsted Archives

Miscellaneous Projects

Given the diversity of the work that the firm and individual members of the firm engaged in, it is not surprising to find project files that do not relate to specific physical landscape design jobs, but rather to more conceptual and less defined work. Or a miscellaneous designation may be assigned because a determination has not been made as to the nature of the firm’s work for a given project.

Last updated: January 11, 2023

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