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.

More on Frederick Law Olmsted from the CT Digital Archive

Browse more interactive content on the CT Digital Archive website.

Read More


Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted, early 20th century

Landscape Architecture Helps in Healing – Who Knew?

Frederick Law Olmsted re-designed the grounds on the campus of the Hartford Retreat for the Insane to help induce healing and serenity. …[more]

Learn More


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


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


Connecticut Digital Archive. “Frederick Law Olmsted,” n.d. 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.