Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.

Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. ( born July 24, 1870 in Staten Iceland, New York City, USA, † December 25, 1957 in Malibu (California ) ) was an American landscape architect who was particularly known for his efforts in the protection of species. He dedicated all his life for national parks and worked on projects in Acadia National Park, the Everglades and Yosemite National Park.

Family and Education

Olmsted was the son of Frederick Law Olmsted and Mary Cleveland Perkins and a half-brother of John Charles Olmsted. After graduating from the Roxbury Latin School in 1890 he went with his famous father into the teaching and acquired in 1894, his bachelor's degree at Harvard University.

Olmsted married in March 1911 Sarah Hall Sharples.

Olmsted, Jr. died while visiting friends in Malibu (California ) and was buried in the Old North Cemetery in Hartford (Connecticut).

Professional life

Frederick Law Olmsted Junior worked early (still in his father's company ) on two outstanding projects: the World's Fair of 1893 in Chicago, which was dedicated to the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus, and the largest privately owned home in the United States, which became known as Biltmore Estate George Vanderbilt's mansion in North Carolina.

After completing his studies at Harvard, he became in 1895 a partner in the landscape architecture firm of his father in Brookline (Massachusetts ). Shortly after his father moved back into private life. Olmsted and his half-brother John Charles Olmsted took over the management of the company and called them into Olmsted Brothers. For the next half century the company handled thousands of landscape projects in the United States.

1900 Olmsted came back to Harvard University and led there as a high school teacher, a first formal training course for landscape architecture.

President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him in 1901 as a member of the McMillan Commission ( Senate Park Improvement Commission of the District of Columbia). In other notable personalities such as Daniel Burnham, Charles Follen McKim, and Augustus Saint -Gaudens, he worked on the project, " picking up and further development of the centuries- old plans of Major L'Enfant for Washington and adapt to the present conditions. "

The American Civic Association made ​​in 1910 to advise on the creation of a new office for national parks from him. This culminated in a six-year correspondence, while the following excerpts quoted letter:

"The current situation with respect to national parks is very bad. They were one after another created by Congress resolutions that defined neither clear, should serve what goals the removed lands, nor any proper and efficient means to secure the parks ready set [ ... ] I've made ​​at various times two proposals, one of which was [ ... ] the definition of goals and objectives by which the national parks and monuments should be managed by the National Park office. "

His best contribution consisted of a few simple words that were recorded for the generations in America as a guide for the nature and preservation in the National Park Service Organic Act:

" To get the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide pleasure in viewing them, and they leave intact in such manner and by such means to the delight of future generations. "

1920 included his more famous projects plans for city park systems and green stripes across the country. During his work for the California State Park Commission ( now part of the California Department of Parks and Recreation ) in 1928 led Olmsted through a nationwide survey on potential park. In it, he defined the basic long-term goals and pretended guidelines for the acquisition and development of public parks. He was also a founding member and later president of the American Society of Landscape Architects (American Society of Landscape Architects).

Under the leadership of John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the Olmsted Brothers firm employed in their most successful period in the early 1930s, almost 60 employees. The last family member to Olmsted Jr. retired in 1949 from the company.


Olmsted Point in Yosemite and Olmsted Iceland at the Great Falls of the Potomac River in Maryland are named after him.

Olmsted Grove in Redwood National Park was dedicated to him in 1953, the same year in which he received the Pugsley Gold Medal.


A partial list of Olmsted's design projects in the U.S. capital reads like a guide to the sites in the National Park Service: National Mall & Memorial Parks, Jefferson Memorial, White House facilities and Rock Creek Park.

In his later years Olmsted, Jr. worked for the protection of California's coast redwood ( coastal redwoods ).

He was responsible for the designed terrace-style master plan layout of Cornell University. He also worked on the Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales (Florida ) and Forest Hills Gardens in Queens, New York.

Other projects (excerpt):

  • Landscaping in Waveny Park, New Canaan, Connecticut, 1912.
  • St. Francis Wood neighborhood in the southwest of San Francisco, 1914
  • Distinctive superstructure to protect the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, 1932