In 2022, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Frederick Law Olmsted’s birth. To Celebrate, the Hyde Park Historical Society and the Washington Park Camera Club present this virtual program exploring the impact of his landscapes in Chicago.
Widely recognized as the founder of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) was the pre-eminent creator of the nation’s parks and greenspaces. Olmsted provided a lasting impact on Chicago with his visionary original plan for Jackson and Washington Parks and the Midway Plaisance; redesign of Jackson Park for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition; and his firm's transformation of the site back into parkland after the fair. While Chicago’s Olmsted-designed parks have been enjoyed by generations, preserving them for the future presents diverse challenges from resilience, to maintenance, positive uses and climate stress responses.
Speaker: Julia Bachrach
Julia Bachrach, a historian and preservationist, is author of The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks. Her intensive research on Olmsted’s Chicago parks includes preparing reports on the Midway Plaisance for the University of Chicago and nominating Washington Park to the National Register of Historic Places.
Speaker: Patricia O'Donnell
Patricia O’Donnell, FASLA founded Heritage Landscapes in 1987, dedicated to the preservation management and celebration of valued public landscapes. Her firm has worked on plans and project to revitalizes over 50 Olmsted landscapes. In 2015, the firm collaborated on a Jackson Park project that reasserts historic landscape character, while improving habitat, welcoming daily uses, and shaping a more maintainable landscape as a sustainable 21st century public park.
Speaker: Duane Savage
Duane Savage is a photographer and past-president of the Washington Park Camera Club, the oldest predominately African American camera club in Chicagoland. In honor of Olmsted’s birthday, the club produced South Park Then and Now, an online photographic essay that weaves together historic and contemporary images. The project was especially meaningful to Duane because Washington Park has been his stomping grounds for much of his life.
Past, Present and Future of Olmsted Landscapes in Chicago is presented as part of Art Design Chicago Now, an initiative funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art that amplifies the voices of Chicago's diverse creatives, past and present, and explores the essential role they play in shaping the now.