Frederick Law Olmsted is best remembered as the pioneer of landscape architecture in the United States. He created a number of classic green spaces, often in collaboration with his sometime partner, Calvert Vaux. With his landscape creations, Olmsted demonstrated a talent for wildly innovative designs that made use of a city’s best natural features. But Olmsted wasn’t content to merely be a park-maker: he also designed the grounds of a number of private estates for wealthy patrons.
Many of Olmsted's creations are still with us today. Most notable among them is Central Park, Olmsted’s 1858 debut and masterpiece, as well as Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, another New York City jewel. Olmsted created parks in other major cities such as Chicago and Montreal, as well as in smaller ones like Rochester, Milwaukee, and Louisville. Even many Olmsted projects initially undertaken for private entities — including Shelburne Farms in Vermont, the Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin, and the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina — have since become public treasures.
Here is a collection of photographs of Olmsted's most famous parks, both past and present.