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The Olmsted National Historic Site and the Growth of Historic Landscape Preservation

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Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) is recognized as the founder of American landscape architecture and the genius behind New York’s Central Park. In 1883 Olmsted established “Fairsted” in suburban Boston, the world’s first full-scale professional office for the practice of landscape design. Over the course of the next century, his sons and successors sustained and expanded upon Olmsted’s design ideals, philosophy, and influence. His son, F. L. Olmsted, Jr., helped to lay the groundwork for the National Park Service in 1916.

David Grayson Allen chronicles the creation and development of the Olmsted National Historic Site in Brookline, Massachusetts, which opened in 1979 after nearly a decade of struggle and controversy and now welcomes thousands of visitors and researchers every year. The Site’s history is emblematic of the evolving role that landscape architecture plays in modern American lives and reflects the stunning transformation that has taken place within the National Park Service itself within the last quarter century. Original, sophisticated, meticulously researched, and well-written, The Olmsted National Historic Site and the Growth of Historic Landscape Preservation will resonate with readers interested in historic preservation and landscape architecture.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Allen's conclusions are insightful, and the appendices, notes, bibliography, and index testify to the depth of the research and attention given to the book. Allen's style is accessible and engaging, ensuring that this well-written book will have a place among the canon of historic preservation philosophy as a valuable, in-depth look at what, in the late twentieth century, justified the establishment of yet another public historic site with a landscape focus."
—Preservation Education and Research

"[Grayson's] tight focus on Olmsted National Historic Site offers a revealing tale of a small park that made it, despite formidable challenges."
—The Journal of American History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555536794
  • Publisher: Northeastern University Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 332
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

DAVID GRAYSON ALLEN, a former NEH Fellow, is a principal of Allen Associates, a historical consulting firm in Concord, Massachusetts. His first of many books, In English Ways,won the Jamestown Prize of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and was a candidate for the Pulitzer Prize. He is currently a consulting historian for the Department of Defense and is also writing a financial history of Boston.

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

American Landscape Architecture and the Establishment of the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
The Beginnings of the Olmsted National Historic Site
Waging the Battle Anew

Early Development of the Olmsted National Historic Site and New Interest in Landscape Preservation
Early Developments at the Olmsted Site
Olmsted as a Traditional National Historic Site
The Cultural Landscape Preservation Movement Within the National Park Service

Fulfilling the Potential of the Site
The Transformation of the Olmsted Collection
Site Changes and Developments
The Preservation of Historic Landscapes
Olmsted National Historic Site and the National Park Service

Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., and the National Park Service Organic Act of
List of Interviewees for the Administrative History of Olmsted National Historic Site

Selected Bibliography

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