2016 Summer Walking Tours

Join us for monthly walking tours in Seattle’s Olmsted parks and start your weekend with a dose of beauty, nature, and history! Appropriate for all ages and lasting approximately 2 hours. Contact friends@seattleolmsted.org for more information about specific tours.

July 9th
Colman Park
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Meet at the parking lot at the base of Colman Park (access from Lake Washington Boulevard).

August 20th
Magnolia Blvd 
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Meet at the parking lot on Magnolia Blvd W near Howe St.

September 17th
Woodland Park
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Meet at the parking lot near the Woodland Park Lawn Bowling area.
*This is the FSOP annual meeting, please join us for potluck lunch after the tour in Shelter #4 (up the hill from the Woodland Park Lawn Bowling building).

color photo of six individuals standing under arbor on a sunny day. All are facing to the right, apparently at someone off-camera.
Washington Park Tour, 2015.

Olmsted Correspondence Accessible Online

We are excited to announce that the Olmsted Correspondence project is complete! FSOP, working in conjunction with the Washington State Archives, has indexed 29 jobs’ correspondence related to the Olmsted Brothers firm’s Seattle projects.

More than 1,200 documents have been scanned and indexed and can be accessed via the Washington State Digital Archives at:https://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/Collections/TitleInfo/2017.

The indexing allows us to search the correspondence by job number, job name, author or recipient, landscape feature type, document type, and topics, people, or organizations.

The work was done by FSOP volunteers and indexers funded by the Washington State Department of Transportation as part of the Section 106 mitigation agreed upon for the SR520 Bridge Replacement and HOV project.

We’d like to thank Mary Hammer, Michael Dwyer, and June Timmons from the Washington State Archives for their assistance in developing an indexing system and creating the online interface for the project. We’d also like to thank Olivia Johnson, Marta Olson, and Adrienne Sharigian for their work on the project.

Having the correspondence available online and searchable will make it easier to find information related to specific projects, trace the development of landscape features and plans, and see how the different elements were intended to work together as a system.

Black and white scan of a typewritten page with heading "Schmitz Park" and subheading "Visit by J.C.O. . . . 9th June, 1911."
John Charles Olmsted field note from visit to Schmitz Park, 1911.

Three New Books about Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.

Seattle’s Olmsted, John Charles, was the nephew and stepson of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., known as the father of American landscape architecture. The senior Olmsted was renowned for his work in Central Park, the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, among many others. He was also a prolific writer on a wide variety of subjects.

The New York Review of Books has an extensive review of three new books about the Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. :

Frederick Law Olmsted: Writings on Landscape, Culture, and Society
edited by Charles E. Beveridge

The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, Volume IX: The Last Great Projects, 1890–1895
edited by David Schuyler, Gregory Kaliss, and Jeffrey Schlossberg

Frederick Law Olmsted: Plans and Views of Public Parks
edited by Charles E. Beveridge, Lauren Meier, and Irene Mills

Any one of these would be a great read as winter winds down and our beautiful parks fill with spring blossoms.

Painted image of an elderly, gray-bearded man walking with a cane through a woodland garden. On top of the image is text reading "Olmsted" and "Writings on Landscape, Culture, and Society."

Summer 2015 Walking Tours Announced

Getting to Know the Seattle Olmsted Park System

Join us for monthly walking tours in Seattle’s Olmsted parks and start your weekend with a dose of beauty, nature, and history! They are held on 3rd Saturdays (except August) and begin at 10:00 AM, lasting approximately two hours. Appropriate for all ages. These walks are free and open to all, and go on rain or shine. There is no need to register in advance. Contact friends@seattleolmsted.org for more information about specific tours.

2015 Summer Walking Tour Schedule

May 16th
Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition at the University of Washington campus
Meet at the entrance to the Burke Museum.

June 20th
Washington Park Arboretum
Meet at the Graham Visitor Center.

July 18th
Madrona Park and Frink Park
Meet at Leschi Elementary School parking lot.

September 19th
Volunteer Park
Meet at the Black Sun sculpture across from the Seattle Asian Art Museum.
*This is the FSOP annual meeting, please join us for potluck lunch after the tour.

colorized photo from old postcard showing aerial view of central plaza, bordered by red-roofed buildings, with cascading pools to large round pool, all centered on-axis with a distant view to Mt. Rainier. Text on postcard reads, "Mt. Rainier and Court of Honor, as seen from the US Government Building, Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Seattle, Wash., 1909. (Official Post Card)"
Rainier Vista, Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, 1909. Courtesy J&A Collection.

Volunteer Docents Needed for “Picture Yourself on Azalea Way”

The Arboretum Foundation is looking for volunteer docents for their display garden, “Picture Yourself on Azalea Way,” at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. The theme of this year’s show is “Romance Blossoms” and their garden will recreate all of the romance of Azalea Way at the Washington State Convention Center. Docents help hand out brochures and answer questions about the garden and the Washington Park Arboretum. You do NOT need to be an plant expert to be a docent. The Arboretum Foundation will offer a training session on Saturday, January 31 from 3?4 p.m. at the Graham Visitors Center in the Arboretum. Docents receive a wristband for FREE admission to the show for the whole day of their shift.

For more information or to register, contact Megan Meyer at mmeyer@arboretumfoundation.org or 206-577-0549.

color-pencil sketch showing flowering shrub beds and pink-white flowering trees in a section/elevation of a shallow swale. Two women in long flowered frocks blend in with the flowering shrubs.
Sketch of the 2015 display garden, by Rhonda Bush.

Library of American Landscape History Films Online

The Library of American Landscape History and Florentine Films/Hott Productions has produced a series of documentary films about historically significant landscapes and the landscape architects who designed them.

Based on books published by the Library of American Landscape History, the short films are hosted by historians and landscape architects who, “explain the design process in accessible terms that will engage nonspecialists as well as students, practitioners, and scholars.”

The two films about Olmsted landscape design focus on the work of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System describes the first park system designed for an American city. Community by Design: The Olmsted Firm and the Development of Brookline, Massachusetts surveys Olmsted’s move to Brookline, his role in its planning, and the Olmsted firms’ operations there.

Each film is about 12 minutes long and they are available to view on the Library of American Landscape History website.

collage of two photos and a logo reading "LALH library of American Landscape History" in upper left corner. Photo on left is black and white image of unpaved street with row of trees and rowhouses in background; image on right is color photo of man, back to camera, looking into film camera toward background of upper story of yellow house with tall flowering bushes in front.
Courtesy Library of American Landscape History

Dunn Gardens Centennial Garden Photo Contest

The E.B. Dunn Historic Garden Trust is celebrating the centennial of their Olmsted-designed garden in 2015. As part of the year-long festivities, they are inviting the public to submit photos of the garden taken between October 2014 and October 2015 for a contest. Winners will receive a free membership to the Trust and have their photos enlarged, framed, and placed in the on-site classroom for visitors to enjoy.

The Trust will display the submitted photos on their website over the course of the year and announce the winners at the Centennial Fall Foliage Festival, to be held on Sunday, October 25, 2015.

Mike Siegel, The Seattle Times garden photographer, will be one of the jury members who will choose winners in two categories: Landscape and Detail. Contest rules and further information can be found on the Dunn Gardens website.

Photos may be taken at any time the garden is open to visitors. For a schedule of open dates, tours, and special events, see the Visiting & Tours page.

black and white photo of two brick pillars and gate open to a snow-covered drive bordered by tall evergreen trees.
Original entrance to Dunn Gardens, off 3rd Avenue. Courtesy Dunn Gardens Archives.

Friends of Mount Baker Town Center Launches Website

FSOP has been working with the Friends of Mount Baker Town Center since this summer to identify potential locations for green space in the newly rezoned town center and to explore ways to connect Mount Baker and Cheasty boulevards – part of the historic Olmsted park and boulevard system.

The rezone increased the allowable height of buildings in the town center. This will increase the density of the neighborhood and increase the need for usable green space. The community has made green space a priority in the neighborhood’s planning and the area has great potential as a connection between Beacon Hill and Lake Washington. A continuous connection would fulfill the Olmsted Brothers’ goal of a string of boulevards and parks between Beacon Hill and Lake Washington via Jefferson Park, Cheasty Boulevard, Mount Baker Boulevard, and Lake Washington Boulevard.

See this fact sheet for more information.

The Friends of Mount Baker Town Center is looking for volunteers who would like to help develop the green space and boulevard connection ideas, reach out to the community, seek funding, or make a donation. For more information, visit their web page on the Seattle Parks Foundation site: Friends of Mount Baker Town Center or email towncenterfriends@gmail.com them.

Vision for Mount Baker Town Center
Yellowed line drawn map of Seattle with sites and routes across the city hatched in red. Map is titled, "Olmsted System, Parks, Boulevards and Playgrounds of the City of Seattle."
Map courtesy Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, 2690-z13pt1

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