Visit to the Sacred Place – Three Weeks In!

Hello everyone!

My name is Sara Sanchez and I am the fourth intern on the Designing the Parks 2014 team for the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation at the National Park Service. What a great experience it has been so far!! To join in on the blog posts my fellow interns have been providing to everyone, I want to update everyone on our trip out to Olmsted’s Farm House Estate – Fairsted.

Located out in the beautifully, historic Brookline neighborhood, Olmsted moved here in his later years of designing, with his family – wife, two sons and daughter. Here is where his sons Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and Charles Olmsted began to work with their father in the production of landscapes across the United States. This beautiful house was not only a home but also a studio space. About 70 draftsmen, designers, and planners worked here in the addition Olmsted built for his studio work space.


We were guided through the Fairsted by National Park Service Ranger and Historian Allen – a very knowledgeable resource to the Fairsted Center. He recited stories and quotes from Olmsted and explained the quirks of the house and studio. For instance, the way to make a photocopy – the studio was constructed to be able to lay your sheets to be photocopied on a table then laid outside the window of the second floor on rafters to get a sun exposed photo copy. We then went down into the archives. Here, the NPS staff have done a great deal of work in salvaging and organizing the thousands of amazingly historic maps, working drawings, and plans created by Olmsted and his team.

Olmsted Drawings

The exhibits within the house are newly reopened – having had gone through reconstruction for about seven months this past year. The park is beautiful – inside and out. The grounds capture the essence of Olmsted’s designs with the large open lawn juxtaposed against the more enclosed, private gardens. Hope to get out to the park again soon and explore more and read the rest of the exhibits. It is a great place to learn about landscape architecture – as Olmsted is considered the founding father of the profession!

Can’t wait for the next few weeks and the adventures the DTP team will encounter!!
I have a site visit down to Appomattox Courthouse – my project for the six months – next week, so the next update is surely to entertaining!
Have a great weekend,

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