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Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site


Unlike most historic homes, the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site is more a monument to Olmsted's work than his life. Olmsted is the father of American landscape architecture, and his legacy of green spaces, wilderness areas, and urban parks -- the most famous of which is New York's Central Park -- helps define the way America looks today.

Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
© National Park Service
Frederick Olmsted's 36-room house and office complex in Brookline, MA
became Frederick Olmsted National Historic Site in 1979.

In 1883, Olmsted bought a small farm near downtown Boston. In the old farmhouse, he established his home and office. In 1979, the 36-room house and office complex, sitting on two acres landscaped by Olmsted, became a national historic site.

It is fitting that visitors enter the house through what had been the conservatory or plant room. It opens into the living room, which serves as the site's information center. An excellent film describing the life and work of Olmsted and his role in the park movement is shown in the dining room. Displayed in the north parlor -- which was originally Olmsted's office, then that of his stepson, and finally his son -- are plans, photographs, and models of some 5,000 landscape projects of the firm. It is a rare look at the body of work produced by a single professional office from 1860 to 1980.

A tour through the grounds, with its varied shrubs, meandering paths, and broad meadows, provides a firsthand glimpse of Olmsted's landscaping principles at work.

Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site Information

Address: 99 Warren Street
Brookline, MA 02445
Telephone: 617/566-1689
Hours of Operation: Closed until Fall 2009
Admission: Free

Learn more about these other national historic sites:

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic SiteClara Barton National Historic Site
Fort Larned National Historic Site
Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Adams National Historic Site
Edgar Allen Poe National Historic SiteFort Raleigh National Historic SiteHampton National Historic SiteLincoln Home National Historic SitePuukohola Heiau National Historic SiteTheodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic SiteEdison National Historic SiteFort Scott National Historic SiteHarry S. Truman National Historic SiteLongfellow National Historic SiteSagamore Hill National Historic SiteThomas Stone National Historic Site
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Eisenhower National Historic Site Fort Smith National Historic Site Herbert Hoover National Historic Site Maggie L. Walker National Historic SiteSaint Paul's Church National Historic SiteThomas Stone National Historic Site
Boston African -American National Historic Site Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic SiteFort Vancouver National Historic SiteHome of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic SiteManzanar National Historic Site

Saint-
Gaudens National Historic Site

Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Eugene O'Neill National Historic SiteFrederick Douglass National Historic SiteHopewell Furnace National Historic SiteMartin Van Buren National Historic SiteSalem Maritime National Historic SiteUlysses S. Grant National Historic Site
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Ford's Theater National Historic SiteFrederick Law Olmsted National Historic SiteHubbell Trading Post National Historic SiteMary McLeod Bethune House National Historic Site Saugus Iron Works National Historic SiteWeir Farm National Historic Site
Charles Pinckney National Historic SiteFort Bowie National Historic SiteFriendship Hill National Historic SiteJames A. Garfield National Historic SiteMc Loughlin House National Historic SiteSewall -Belmont House National Historic SiteWhitman Mission National Historic Site
Chicago Portage National Historic Site
Fort Davis National Historic SiteGloria Dei Church National Historic SiteJimmy Carter National Historic SiteNinety Six National Historic Site Springfield Armory National Historic SiteWilliam Howard Taft National Historic Site
Christiansted National Historic SiteFort Laramie National Historic SiteGolden Spike National Historic SiteJohn Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic SitePalo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site Steamtown National Historic Site

Find out more about travel destinations in North America:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.

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