Olmsted’s Ever-Abiding Love for Central Park

Frederick Law Olmsted

Frederick Law Olmsted  as an ambitious and passionate young man

‘Love’ isn’t exactly a word that was bandied about in the 19th Century. Times were tough in a country that had to go through a devastating Civil War and for people who had to work hard for everything they put on the table.

So when it comes to Olmsted’s feelings about his work on Central Park, one might have expected a similar degree of practical reserve.

Not so.

As he stated in one of his letters: ‘There is no other place in the world that is more home to me. I love it through and through, and all the more for the trials it has cost me.’

Written in 1865, the trials he is referring to were the obstacles to the park’s completion put in his way by the political powers of his time.

When the park was finally completed and the Angel of the Waters  installed on top of the Bethesda Fountain, it was Olmsted and Vaux who suggested that it be dedicated, not to some politically correct cause like might have happened today, but to Love itself.

To capture the deep sentiment that Olmsted held for this remarkable urban space, I have Christopher Middleton, the main character in my young adult adventure series Central Park Story, echo these same feelings, down to the very words that Olmsted used himself.


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