Frederick Law Olmsted

Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903)

Acclaimed as the founder of American landscape architecture, Hartford-born Frederick Law Olmsted received an informal education in civil engineering, farming, and scientific agriculture. Travels to Europe in the 1850s exposed him to Continental landscape and park designs. By 1858, as Central Park Commission superintendent, he designed New York City’s most famous park. His success in coordinating its construction led to his appointment as head of the US Sanitary Commission in 1861. In this capacity, he improved health conditions for Union troops. Over 37 years, Olmsted and his partners designed parks, campuses, residential communities, and private estates. His Connecticut projects include New Britain’s Walnut Hill Park, Seaside and Beardsley parks in Bridgeport, and grounds for what is now the Institute for Living in Hartford.


Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted, early 20th century

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“Beardsley Park and Zoo.” Bridgeport History Center, 2012. Link.
“Finding Aid for the Frederick Law Olmsted Papers, 1777-1952.” Library of Congress, 2012. Link.
“Olmsted Legacy Trail,” 2014. Link.
“The Planning of Seaside Park.” Bridgeport History Center, 2012. Link.


“Parklands.” Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill Estate, 2012. Link.


Olmsted, Frederick Law, and John Charles Olmsted. Beardsley Park: Landscape Architects’ Preliminary Report, September, 1884. Boston, MA: City of Bridgeport Park Commission, 1884. Link.
Roper, Laura Wood. FLO: A Biography of Frederick Law Olmsted. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973.
Martin, Justin. Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2011.
Olmsted, Frederick Law, Charles Capen McLaughlin, and Charles E. Beveridge. The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977.