Frederick Law Olmsted, New England's Beloved Son


Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of landscape architecture, was said to paint with nature. He is best known for designing our first city parks and park systems, but his work extends to designing model suburban communities, promoting environmentalism, and advocating for the creation of the national park system. Greatly influenced by his New England upbringing, Olmsted instilled in us a love of our American landscapes.  

This talk begins with a brief overview of Olmsted's early life here in New England and his numerous jobs before partnering with the architect Calvert Vaux to design Central Park. These various jobs were significant in that each of them taught him skills that served him well in his work as a landscape architect. The talk then turns to his significant contribution to New England's built environment, the Emerald Necklace, which displays his fundamental design principles and techniques. Boston's Park System reveals Olmsted's sensitivity to the growing city and the need to “green” it through parkland and parkways. Through a brief examination of these five parks, we can understand how the majestic scenery of New England shaped and then directed his work as a designer of great landscapes.  

About the presenter: Ann M. McEntee, PhD, MLA is a former communications and theatre professor. She left teaching to earn a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of New Mexico. While living in Santa Fe, she earned her certification as a Master Gardener, and more recently, her Advanced Master Gardener certification. Ann currently teaches architectural and landscape history for Keene State College's CALL (Cheshire Academy for Lifelong Learning) program and works part-time as a landscape consultant. The former lead gardener at the Cathedral of the Pines, she presents garden talks to area townships and organizations.


Event Details


Friday, January 14, 2022 5:00pm


117 Pleasant Street
Concord NH 03301

Hosted By:

New Hampshire Humanities

Contact Info:

New Hampshire Humanities, 603-224-4071 or