In Photos: A walk through Frederick Law Olmsted’s Enduring Gift: America’s Public Parks

In Photos: A walk through Frederick Law Olmsted’s Enduring Gift: America’s Public Parks

On the bicentennial of his birthday in April — aptly the season of spring blooms and rebirth — it is worth remembering Olmsted’s enduring imprint on the nation. In plots of earth and green, Olmsted saw something more: freedom, human connection, public health.

A New York Times photographer captured every season in Olmsted-designed spaces, from the woodlands of Prospect Park in Brooklyn to the slopes of Cherokee Park in Louisville, Ky., to the campus of Stanford University to a green island in Detroit.

Collectively, the images capture something else: that Olmsted’s vision is as essential today as it was more than a century ago.

“Where there were parks, they gave the highest assurance of safety, as well as a grateful sense of peculiarly fresh and pure air.”
— Frederick Law Olmsted