Join the Friends of Olmsted-Beil House for a fascinating presentation by Justin Martin, author of Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted. Justin will highlight Olmsted’s travels to England while he lived at Tosomock Farm on Staten Island, and his subsequent writings about these travels. Olmsted departed from Staten Island for a walking tour of England in April 1850, returned in October, and both wrote (1851) and published (1852) his observations in Walks and Talks of an American farmer in England while on Staten Island. Justin will discuss how these travels influenced Olmsted’s social thinking and landscape designs.
Join Turnstile Tours and the Friends of Olmsted-Beil House for a virtual panel discussion to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Frederick Law Olmsted’s report for the Staten Island Improvement Commission, a comprehensive plan for the island’s growth and development. We will hear unique perspectives about Staten Island in the late 1800s, Olmsted’s public health recommendations, and his legacy in the greenest borough of New York City. The panel will include Prof. Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, Director of Graduate Landscape Architecture Program at City College’s Spitzer School of Architecture; Jessica Kratz of the Staten Island Greenbelt Nature Center; naturalist Ed Johnson, emeritus curator of science at the Staten Island Museum; and moderated by Andrew Gustafson of Turnstile Tours.
Did you know that Prospect Park has a piece of Gettysburg’s famed Little Round Top? And one of the oldest statues of Abraham Lincoln in America? While memorials to the Civil War are prominent features of the park, the war itself also shaped its design. Co-designer Frederick Law Olmsted spent the war directing the US Sanitary Commission, which provided medical care to the Union Army, and that experience influenced his ideas on public space and public health. On this virtual tour, we will explore the park’s many Civil War connections, from Grand Army Plaza to the Parade Ground.
- WATCH Exploring Staten Island’s Olmsted-Beil House
- WATCH Progressivism and Purified Air: Frederick Law Olmsted’s Living Machines
- Olmsted’s report on the Battle of Bull Run (NIH)
- Olmsted, Hospital Transports: a Memoir of the Embarkation of the Sick and Wounded from the Peninsula of Virginia in the summer of 1862
- “Frederick Law Olmsted’s War on Disease and Disunity” (The New Yorker)
- “In Brooklyn, Grand Army Plaza Gets an Intervention” (New York Times)
- “Anna Hyatt Huntington and Equestrian Lincoln” (Columbia University Libraries)
Join our conversation with Sara Carr, Assistant Professor of Architecture, Urbanism, and Landscape at Northeastern University, who will discuss Frederick Law Olmsted’s origins in public health, and how his background in the US Sanitary Commission during the Civil War, and his journalistic advocacy inspired his designs of Central Park and Prospect Park. Olmsted’s prolific writings give us an insight into how he thought about the intersection of human, ecological, and societal health, which resonate strongly in our pandemic era. But as his living legacies face unprecedented urban challenges, we must also think about how they can sustain and at times even transform for a just and sustainable future. This program is presented in partnership with the Prospect Park Alliance.
- Emerald Necklace Conservancy
- NYC Health, “Active Design Guide for Community Groups”
- National Association for Olmsted Parks
- Discover Seneca Village
Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted are best known for designing landmark landscapes in New York City and across the country, most notably Prospect Park and Central Park. Both men had wildly different lives and careers before their collaboration began, and yet they found incredible chemistry and creative energy together, though later their lives again diverged. This program will look closely at the biographies of both men and how their life experiences and outlooks are reflected in the spaces they created together.
- Frederick Law Olmsted Papers in the Library of Congress
- National Association for Olmsted Parks
- Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted (2012)
- WATCH: Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America (PBS)