Local event one of hundreds of concerts, bicentenary celebrations of Frederick Law Olmsted
An April 30 event at Lake Wailes Park is more than a local celebration, it’s part of a much larger celebration of a famous father-son duo who changed the face of North America. April 26, 2022 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of American landscape architect and social reformer Frederick Law Olmsted, who championed the idea of public parks in the United States.
Lake Wales Heritage is one of more than 120 organizations nationwide that have come together as the ‘Olmsted 200: Parks for All People’ for a year of public programming and events designed to celebrate, strengthen and develop the parks, open spaces and the American quality of life. They are joined by the City of Lake Wales as co-hosts of ‘Olmsted Day in the Park’, described as a ‘day of family fun’ filled with music, food, games, prizes and more. Several other businesses and community organizations have joined to co-sponsor the event, and more are welcome, according to organizers.
“‘Parks for All’ is the theme of hundreds of events across America this year as we celebrate the joy that parks and open spaces bring to our lives,” said Anne Neal Petri, CEO of the ‘Olmsted National Parks Association, which is managing the Olmsted 200 campaign. “Frederick Law Olmsted pioneered the notion of public urban parks and he created places that bring people together across their differences. These are bold ideas who have transformed American life – and Olmsted 200 is dedicated to maintaining the vitality of our parks and ensuring that every American has fair and easy access to parks.”
Events, concerts, tours and lectures are planned across Olmsted Landscapes throughout 2022.
Olmsted worked on Central Park and Prospect Park in New York; the grounds of the United States Capitol; Boston Emerald Necklace; Atlanta’s Druid Hills; and numerous parks and landscapes in Chicago, Milwaukee, Buffalo, NY, Louisville, Ky., Connecticut, North Carolina, New Jersey and beyond. He helped design the campuses of Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; Trinity College; and many other schools and institutions.
Olmsted’s work laid the philosophical foundation for the subsequent creation of America’s national and state park systems and thousands of local parks.
Olmsted Jr. was his father’s protege, continuing to run the business for many years after his father’s death and excelling in many ways in his concepts and designs for cityscapes and parks. He led efforts to protect Yosemite Valley in California, was largely responsible for the design of the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, led the reforestation of nearly a million acres of deforested land in the Blue Ridge and of course designed Mountain Lake Estates, Bok’s Mountain Lake Sanctuary, and created the first zoning maps and streetscape plan for the City of Lake Wales, including the design of our very own Druid housing estate Hills.
“Parks are essential contributors to our physical and mental health,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, a founding partner of Olmsted 200. ensuring access to the park for every American as part of a bold vision for public health.”
“Frederick Law Olmsted proposed the idea that landscape architecture could create places that reinforce the project of American democracy,” said Sara Zewde, founder of Studio Zewde and assistant professor of practice at the Graduate School of Design at the Harvard University. “As we look at American life today, we see a great need and opportunity to build on those original goals of landscape architecture. That’s what Olmsted 200 is.”
For an ever-growing list of national events, experts, commentary, partner organizations and Olmsted’s history, visit http://www.Olmsted200.org.
Editor’s Note: Some of the text for this story was provided with compliments from Olmsted 200 and is reprinted in its entirety.