We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Mrs. BD visited Boston this week, and stopped by Olmstead's house in Brookline. Olmstead is a Maggie's hero. Nothing is changed from when he ran his design office there - drafting tables, blueprinters, etc.
Olmsted was a man of many talents and unfortunately gets far too little notice for his life these days beyond his connection to Central Park.
As a journalist, he made some very pointed, sharply accurate observations on the deleterious effect of slavery on the economy of the South. He was the Executive Secretary of the US Sanitary Commission during the Civil War.
And of course, there is all that great body of landscaping - parks, campuses, etc. - as his legacy.
He had a few commissions in Canada too, most notably Parc du Mont-Royal (Mount Royal Park) in Montréal.
As a journalist, he made some very pointed, sharply accurate observations on the deleterious effect of slavery on the economy of the South.
Olmsted's books on the South are available at Google Books, where they can be downloaded at no cost to the reader. Look for the following titles:
A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States (1856), A Journey Through Texas (1857), A Journey in the Back Country in the Winter of 1853-4 (1860)) which remain vivid first-person social documents of the pre-war South. A one-volume abridgment, Journeys and Explorations in the Cotton Kingdom (1861), was published during the first six months of the American Civil War at the suggestion of Olmsted's English publisher.
There's a great description of Olmstead's work on the 1893 Colombian Exposition in the book The Devil in the White City - a real thriller of a historical novel in itself. He also designed the landscape for Central Park in NYC and Golden State Park in SF as well. Olmstead was working on the Biltmore House in Asheville (and many other projects) at the same time as the Columbian Exposition. I'm in awe that one person could do so much in only one lifetime. His legacy lives on if you know where to look.