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

Herrera-Mishler Talk Available Online

Thomas Herrera-Mishler, CEO of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, spoke at Town Hall in September at a program sponsored by FSOP and the Volunteer Park Trust. The conservancy has worked for the past twenty years to restore and reactivate Buffalo’s Olmsted park system, the first planned park system in the United States.

Like Seattle’s system, Buffalo has large parks connected by parkways, though the automobile age has wreaked havoc on both. The conservancy manages all of the operations, maintenance, restoration, and preservation of the Olmsted parks and circles in the city.

Herrera-Mishler described the myriad programs the conservancy runs to serve the parks and their users. Through creative management and dedication, they have brought back landscapes; rebuilt a derelict wading pool as a summer splash pad, a spring and fall reflecting pool, and a winter skating rink; restored historic structures; and, as a result, helped rejuvenate an entire city.

He described how donors and volunteers need to feel a personal investment in the parks. Luckily, in Seattle we have many people who care deeply for the Olmsted parks and boulevards that form the foundation of our park system.

The video is available on YouTube and includes a short film, “The Best Planned City in the World,” and short interviews with representatives of FSOP, the Volunteer Park Trust, and the National Association for Olmsted Parks.

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Olmsted 200. Celebrating Parks for All People

We are a proud partner of the Olmsted 200 campaign, a nationwide bicentennial birthday celebration of the democratic values and enduring influence of the visionary American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

Join the celebration at