33¢ Frederick Law Olmsted
Issue Date: September 12, 1999
City: Boston, MA
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) was a visionary who foresaw the day when America’s urban areas would become crowded and complex. He recognized the need to preserve and adapt the green, open land of the cities for the recreation of those who live there. As a result of his deep love for the land, Olmsted fathered the profession of landscape architecture in America.
Although he never completed college, Olmsted was a very knowledgeable man. He moved to New York City at the age of 18, and later toured Europe with his brother, John. Olmsted served as a merchant seaman, newspaper correspondent, and had several books published. In 1857, he was appointed superintendent of Central Park.
In 1858, a contest was held to determine the design of Central Park, America’s first great urban park. The plan submitted by Olmsted and architect Calvert Vaux, titled “Greensward,” won. Within a few years, they turned the 843 barren acres into a beautiful landscape, complete with recreation areas and lush scenery.
Olmsted also planned park systems for Seattle, Boston, and Atlanta. A few of his most notable designs include the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., the layout for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and the New York State Reservation at Niagara.