What’s a Swedish Cottage Doing in the Middle of Central Park?
The answer lies in a visit that Olmsted made to the US Centennial Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia.
The Cottage was an original schoolhouse built in Sweden and brought to the US as a part of the Exhibition where it caught the eye of Olmsted and was bought (for $1500), dismantled, and installed in Central Park.
Like so many older buildings, it’s had a history of various uses, but in 1947, it seemed to come into its own as the headquarters of a marionette troupe. For decades, it has delighted thousands of (screaming) children with its many performances, from Hansel and Gretel to Sleeping Beauty.
I’ve been both outside and inside the building and seen how beautiful it is (wouldn’t mind living in it, as a matter of fact), so I’m not surprised that it caught Olmsted’s eye.
It also catches Christopher Middleton’s attention in Central Park Story Book One when both he and Jennifer go inside to watch one of the marionette performances, only to be surprised by what appears on the stage.