Olmsted Parks in Buffalo, New York


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Buffalo, New York is the home to America's oldest coordinated system of public parks and parkways, designed by the renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), in concert with his partner Calvert Vaux and other subsequent partners.

Olmsted's pioneering design for Buffalo consisted of three public grounds: a very large park featuring a naturalistic landscape; a public ceremonial space; and a military drill ground, all of which were connected by broad "parkways" which excluded all commercial traffic and extended the park experience throughout the city. Olmsted began his work in Buffalo in 1868, and continued to design public grounds for the rapidly expanding city's Board of Park Commissioners during the remainder of his career. After Olmsted's retirement due to ill health in 1895, his firm continued a relationship with Buffalo through 1915, when the city's form of government was altered and its independent Park Commission dissolved.

Today the majority of Olmsted's designs in Buffalo are substantially intact and represent one of the largest bodies of work by the master landscape architect. The Olmsted designed portions of the Buffalo park system are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The original components of the system are:

Later additions are:

Frederick Law Olmsted also was involved in a number of other projects in and around Buffalo. He produced designs for parks which for various reasons the Park Board decided not to construct; and he undertook a number of projects in Buffalo which were unrelated to his work with the Board of Park Commissioners. He was also active in designs in nearby cities, including the design of the Niagara Reservation at Niagara Falls, N.Y., Point Chautauqua community in Chautauqua County, N.Y., the Rochester, N.Y. public parks, and Montebello Park in St. Catherines, Ontario.

Frederick Law Olmsted's designs for the Buffalo Parks.

What makes an "Olmsted Park" unique?

Suggestions for additional reading.

Related sites.

Notes on the sources for these pages.


This page created and maintained by S. M. Broderick.


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