Cultural Landscapes of the Northeast

In the northeastern United States, across thirteen states stretching from Maine to Virginia, there are 78 national park areas that range in size from .02 acres at Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial to 198,000 acres at Shenandoah National Park. The cultural resources of the region are also temporally diverse in that they span four centuries, from the site of the 1604 French Settlement at St. Croix Island in Maine to the first event of the 21st century to be commemorated by the National Park Service - the Flight 93 crash site in Pennsylvania.

Many properties are associated with people and battles significant to the founding of America and the tumultuous period of the Civil War. Residential sites include the homes of presidents, artists, literary figures, and social leaders. Other sites document significant events related to industry, commerce, invention, and maritime activities. Properties associated with land conservation, working landscapes, and landscape design provide tangible evidence of their owner's vision.

Memorials and monuments include landscapes that commemorate events pertaining to liberty, religious freedom, and significant losses of life. Recreational and natural landscape resources encompass vast stretches of scenic coastlines, rivers, and woodlands throughout the Northeast. Many of these resources, however, are faced with threats; from encroaching development and air and water pollution, to invasive species and climate change.

The Northeast is unique for the role played by the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation (OCLP). Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the OCLP continues to advance the field of landscape preservation through both theory and practice. Much of the program's work in the region is done through the OCLP, which has produced an extensive library of publications and reports on the management of cultural landscapes and supports the development of educational programs and internships.
An interpreter dressed as a British soldier in a red coat talks to crowd of people in a wooded area
Featured Articles

Stories about cultural landscapes of the Northeast's national parks

A two-story red brick house behind a picket fence and a wooden fence
Cultural Landscape Profiles

An overview of a few of the landscapes in the Northeast. More to come!

Last updated: April 6, 2021