Ahead Of His Time - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1840367

Ahead Of His Time

Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), a man ahead of his time.

The Garden Club of America is a founding partner of “Olmstead 200,” a project to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, the visionary conceptual and pragmatic force behind the movement to establish public gardens, landscapes and parks in our country.

As a member club of GCA, the Westhampton Garden Club will help raise awareness of his phenomenal life through exhibitions, lectures, films and publications. Join us in celebrating not only the man but his parks and his principles in 2022.

Through his designs and in print, Olmsted promoted such then-radical concepts as his belief that nature — and parks — belong to all people and are crucial to public health and well-being, especially in crowded urban areas. He was also an early advocate for the stewardship and conservation of open space, presciently highlighting 21st century concerns.

Focusing on Olmsted in 2022 is a means to underscore the importance of the parks we often take for granted, and to echo Olmsted’s pleas for the protection of our open land and waterways into the future.

Olmsted literally invented a new profession: landscape architecture. His extensive writings on the new discipline, which advocated master plans with “vistas,” idyllic experiences and the curative effects of nature, were as influential as his design projects. By the time he died in 1903, he was responsible (sometimes with collaborators) for designing Central Park; Riverside, Fort Tryon and Morningside parks; and Prospect Park, Fort Greene Park, and Eastern and Ocean parkways in Brooklyn.

Working with the natural terrain he found on site, he created landscape designs for the campuses of major universities across the country from Yale to Stanford. He planned hundreds of other parks and municipal projects, too many to mention here, but including the U.S. Capitol grounds, and was a driving force for the creation of Yosemite, the nation’s first National Park.

Look for news of our programs to learn more about this extraordinary American and his legacy.

Anne Moore Hutton

Conservation Committee

Westhampton Garden Club