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Connecting curious minds with uncommon, undeniably Northwest reads

Greenscapes

Olmsted’s Pacific Northwest

Joan Hockaday

$29.95

Landscape architect John Charles Olmsted was mentored by Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park. In the early 1900s, the meticulous, visionary protégé brought his famous stepfather’s pastoral aesthetic to premier parks throughout the Pacific Northwest—green retreats that still refresh urban souls in Portland, Seattle, and Spokane.

In the early twentieth century, the meticulous and visionary landscape architect John Charles Olmsted brought the pastoral aesthetic of his famous stepfather, Frederick Law Olmsted, to premier park systems throughout the Pacific Northwest— designing green retreats that still refresh urban souls in Portland, Seattle, and Spokane.

In the early twentieth century, the meticulous and visionary landscape architect John Charles Olmsted designed green retreats that still refresh urban souls in Portland, Seattle, and Spokane.

“A wonderful look at the Olmsted legacy in the Pacific Northwest”—Pacific Horticulture

2010 Outstanding University Press Title, American Library Association

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SKU: 978-0-87422-298-2 Categories: , ,

Description

“Seattle possesses extraordinary landscape advantages in having a great abundance and variety of water views and views of wooded hills and distant mountains and snow-capped peaks. I do not know of any place where the natural advantages for parks are better than here. They can be made very attractive and will be, in time, one of the things that will make Seattle known all over the world.”—John Charles Olmsted, 1903

Like his famous stepfather and mentor Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed New York’s Central Park, landscape architect John Charles Olmsted believed that pastoral spaces were integral to a healthy urban life. The success of Central Park brought attention to the company and sparked a nationwide movement to beautify cities. By 1884, John Charles Olmsted had become a full partner in the Olmsted firm. In 1903, he traveled to Portland and Seattle, submitting master plans for park systems in both. He produced designs for several of the region’s university campuses and smaller cities, as well as Spokane’s premier Riverside Park System. Yet success was jeopardized by political and practical mine fields such as changing park boards, escalating land costs, and dwindling funds. John Charles Olmsted’s finesse with members of the societal elite influenced property purchases, political appointments, and municipal funding levels.

Careful attention to natural vistas, topography, and native plants allowed his verdant havens to provide a renewing connection to the outdoors. Each green retreat was unique, compatible with surroundings and intended uses, and skillfully crafted to take full advantage of a specific site. Some had playgrounds, ball fields, and expansive lawns. Others provided leafy passageways for travel by foot, horse, or car. Hilly woodlands were often layered to offer a lush, textural backdrop with dappled areas of light and shade. Meticulous, intensely observant, industrious, and visionary, he left a legacy that is still enjoyed daily by people across the Pacific Northwest.

“One hundred years later, when we enter an Olmsted-designed park, despite more traffic and development than even those visionaries could probably imagine, we feel submerged in solitude, shelter and a dose of peace sufficient to refresh even the 21st-century human spirit.”—Valerie Easton, Pacific Northwest Magazine

Photographs / maps / notes / bibliography / index / 196 pages (2009)

Recognition

2010 Outstanding University Press Title, American Library Association

“Hockaday’s experienced journalistic skills shine in the thoughtful choreography required to stitch together the many hundreds of meticulous letters written by Olmsted and preserved at Harvard University’s Francis Loeb Library.”—Scott J. Champion, Public Works Management and Policy

 “From an outsider’s point of view, having only briefly visited some of the cities in the Pacific Northwest, Greenscapes provides the reader with a greater understanding and visualization of the character of the cities, their unique features, and how these relate to Olmsted’s proposed ideas.”—Scott J. Champion, Public Works Management and Policy

 “A wonderful look at the Olmsted legacy in the Pacific Northwest. Though historically overshadowed by his more famous father and brother, John Charles Olmsted is revealed as an impressive designer in his own right, and one whose design philosophy is evident in a surprisingly large number of our region’s best-loved parks and green spaces.”—Pacific Horticulture Magazine

“One hundred years later, when we enter an Olmsted-designed park, despite more traffic and development than even those visionaries could probably imagine, we feel submerged in solitude, shelter and a dose of peace sufficient to refresh even the 21st-century human spirit.”—Pacific Northwest Magazine

Additional information

Weight 1.62 oz
Dimensions 10.5 x 9 in
Format

Paperback