Beginning in 1857 with the design for Central Park in New York City, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), his sons and successor firm created designs for more than 6,000 landscapes across North America, including many of the world's most important parks. Olmsted’s remarkable design legacy includes Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Boston’s Emerald Necklace, Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, Mount Royal in Montreal, the grounds of the United States Capitol and the White House, and Washington Park, Jackson Park and the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. Olmsted’s sons were founding members of the American Society of Landscape Architects and played an influential role in the creation of the National Park Service.
From Buffalo to Louisville, Atlanta to Seattle, Baltimore to Los Angeles, the Olmsteds’ work reflects a vision of American communities and American society still relevant today—a commitment to visually compelling and accessible green space that restores and nurtures the body and spirit of all people, regardless of their economic circumstances. The Olmsteds believed in the restorative value of landscape and that parks can bring social improvement by promoting a greater sense of community and providing recreational opportunities, especially in urban environments.