Frederick Law Olmsted: The Revered Father of Landscape Architecture

Portrait_of_Frederick_Law_Olmsted

Portrait of Frederick Law Olmsted

In the 19th Century, there simply was no profession called Landscape Architecture. Law, Business, and Medicine–yes. Landscaping, however, fell under the auspices of horticulture, while architecture was a profession unto itself.

Given that it had to be created out of thin air, it’s no wonder it took some time for Frederick Law Olmsted to discover the passion that was to become its seed.

In fact, it happened almost by chance. He was at loose ends (as usual) and in sore need of money when he heard of a competition to create a plan for a park in the middle of New York City.

Calvert Vaux, a respected architect, asked if Olmsted might like to partner with him and submit a proposal. The answer was an immediate ‘yes’, and thus began one of the most amazingly productive partnerships and careers of the 19th Century which, quite literally, changed the landscape of America forever.

Making Frederick Law Olmsted’s Christopher’s great, great, great grandfather is, of course, completely fictitious, as explained in the preface of Central Park Story Book One. Even so, I wanted to see Olmsted’s legacy carried on in spirit. Hence, the character of Christopher Middleton was born!

 

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