The Olmsteds — How one family’s vision shaped Portland’s landscape
Portland, Maine, is a historic city graced by and proud of its enduring beauty. A shining example is the city’s parks. Walking the Back Cove loop, picnicking on the Eastern Promenade overlooking the Casco Bay Islands, or catching a glimpse of Mount Washington from the Western Promenade are activities that have delighted locals and visitors for over a century. And each park shares a common thread — their design was informed by Frederick Law Olmsted and his sons.
Frederick Law Olmsted’s direct involvement with Portland’s landscape was limited, but his influence is everywhere, thanks to the work carried on by his sons. Olmsted Senior’s belief that everyone could benefit from time in nature to recreate and reflect is manifest in every project he created, beginning with his first design — Central Park in 1858.
In this special outdoor edition of Greater Portland Landmarks book talk series, Portland native, author, and historian Jeffrey Ryan will discuss how the Olmsted vision — developed and extolled by Olmsted Senior and passed to his sons — shaped the Portland landscape and laid the groundwork for the city to retain its vibrancy and connection with its past and future. He will also highlight the history of the Eastern Prom, Western Prom, Back Cove, and Deering Oaks.
Ryan’s newest book, This Land Was Saved for You and Me delves into Frederick Law Olmsted’s uncertain path toward becoming the nation’s pre-eminent landscape architect and his influence not only on landscape design but the creation of forestry as a profession. He will have his book on hand for purchase and signing.