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FRIENDS OF FAIRSTED LECTURE SERIES 2015-2016

In Recognition of the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service

America’s Best Idea: Fairsted, the Olmsteds and Our National Parks

Series Commentator: Anne Whiston Spirn
Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

APRIL 2016 LECTURE

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Parks: Cornerstones of Civic Revitalization

The quality of park systems has long been a measure of a healthy and functional society. Our national parks represent a democratic, and increasingly uncommon, commitment to the common good. This talk will focus on how the tradition of public park making initiated by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.’s seminal Yosemite Report in 1865 continues today as an expression of national and community ideals.

Rolf Dimant lecture

Rolf Diamant is a writer, historian and adjunct associate professor at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. Rolf enjoyed a 37-year career with the National Park Service as a landscape architect, planner, and park manager. He served as superintendent of Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site and was the first superintendent of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, a national park that tells the story of conservation, the evolution of land stewardship and the emergence of a national conservation ethic. As liaison with the National Parks Second Century Commission, he helped re-think the value and function of national parks in a changing world. He is past president of the George Wright Society and his column, “Letter from Woodstock,” addressing the future of national parks, appears regularly in the society’s journal. Copies of A Thinking Person’s Guide to America’s National Parks (George Braziller, 2016) edited by Mr. Diamant and others, will be available for sale and signing by the author.

Thinking Persons GuideA Thinking Person’s Guide to America’s National Parks is a guidebook like no other. In twenty-three essays, richly illustrated with more than 350 color photographs, authors with personal and professional connections to the national parks share their deep and invaluable knowledge. This book illuminates the astonishing diversity of America’s more than 400 national parks, bound together into a single national park system that expresses and preserves the nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage.


Limited street parking is available. Public parking is not allowed in the Wheelock parking lot. Venue is easily accessible by MBTA Green Line “C” (Hawes Street) or “D” (Longwood) trains.

Thank you to Wheelock College for their generosity in hosting our lectures.

Source of “America’s Best Idea”
“National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.”

Wallace Stegner in “The Best Idea We Ever Had: An Overview.” Wilderness Magazine. Washington, DC: The Wilderness Society, Winter 1983.

We thank our co-sponsors for the 2015-2016 Lecture Series:
Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
Boston Society of Landscape Architects
Brown, Richardson + Rowe
Richard Burck Associates, Inc.
The Fenway Alliance
Friends of Mount Auburn
Friends of the Muddy River
Friends of the Public Garden
Historic New England
Library of American Landscape History
National Association for Olmsted Parks
New England Landscape Design & History Association
New England Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians
Pressley Associates
Ray Dunetz Landscape Architecture, Inc.
Reed Hillderbrand
Stantec
The Trustees of Reservations
Tom Woodward and David LePere

We thank our supporting partners who contribute to these lectures:
Massachusetts Historical Society
Emerald Necklace Conservancy
High Street Hill Association
Vanasse Hangen Brustlin

DECEMBER 2015 LECTURE

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Our National Parks and the “Fairsted School”: An Enduring Legacy

The Olmsted firm is famous for the design of hundreds of municipal parks and other landscapes. The achievements of Olmsted and his successors in scenic preservation are less well understood, but park design and scenic preservation were both aspects of the practice of landscape architecture Olmsted developed in the second half of the nineteenth century. This talk explores the role of the “Fairsted School” of landscape architecture and its influence on scenic preservation and the design of state and national park systems through the twentieth century.

Ethan Carr lecture

Ethan Carr, PhD, FASLA, is a landscape historian and preservationist specializing in public landscapes. He has taught at the Harvard GSD, the University of Virginia, and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is a professor. He has written two award-winning books, Wilderness by Design (1998) and Mission 66: Modernism and the National Park Dilemma (2007), and is the volume editor of Volume 8 of the Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, The Early Boston Years, 1882-1890 (2013).

PAST LECTURES
2014–2015
March 2015:
Visible|Invisible

Gary Hilderbrand

December 2014:
Dwelling in Landscape

Daniel Bluestone

2013–2014
March 2014:
The Shaping of Regions: The New York Regional Plan and the Origins of Planning in America

Robert Yaro

November 2013:
From Buffalo to Boston: Olmsted’s Evolving Vision of Urban Park Systems

Francis R. Kowsky

2012–2013
March 2013:
Brooklyn’s Resilient Edge: The Transformation of Industrial Waterfront into Brooklyn Bridge Park

Nate Trevethan

November 2012:
Time Made Visible: Charles Eliot and the Planning of the Metropolitan Park System

Anita Berrizbeitia

2011–2012
March 2012:
Frederick Law Olmsted, 1882-1890: Boston, Brookline and Beyond

Ethan Carr

November 2011:
The Enduring Design Legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. in the Nation’s Capital

Arleyn Levee

2009
October 2009:
The Olmsted Firm and the Development of Brookline

Keith Morgan