News Archives

Announcing 2021 Beveridge Fellowship & Research Grant Recipients!

This year’s recipient of the Beveridge Fellowship is Jonathan Kuhr, a landscape designer based in Malden, Massachusetts. His approach to the landscape is rooted in a belief that nature has the powerful ability to inspire us, especially when we least expect it, and that the responsibility for sharing this power is a heavy one that should support equity, accessibility, sustainability, and community resilience. His varied research interests reflect these values and are born from his experience as a student of politics and urbanism, a community engagement facilitator, a musician and composer, and a life-long explorer of nature. Before studying landscape architecture, he spent ten years as the editor for the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, NY, where he helped develop more than fifty exhibitions, ten books, and numerous other digital and print publications. He received his Master of Landscape Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 2020. For the Beveridge Fellowship he will be studying the design, construction, and reception of the Olmsted office’s densely planted, urban woodlands, particularly the role such landscapes might play in creating spaces for people and programs otherwise marginalized by the prevailing forms of open space found in contemporary cities.

This year’s recipient of the Beveridge Research Grant is Emily Vance, who spent her formative years in the southern United States, focused on Anthropology and Art History at the University of Mississippi. After a few years working at various National Parks including Grand Canyon, Acadia and Redwoods, she earned her MS in Historic Preservation from the University of Oregon. She now works as the National Register and Architectural Survey Coordinator for the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office. It was here that she learned of one of the Olmsted Brothers’ lesser-known projects: a proposed campus plan for West Virginia University in Morgantown (1898-1901). Her project seeks to confirm whether the Olmsted plans were acted upon and to amend the current National Register nomination of Woodburn Circle, WVU’s beloved quadrangle, to provide thorough landscape descriptions and context regarding the Olmsted Brothers’ role in its design.

Remembering Dave England

Photo: Dave England, photo courtesy of Alan Banks Dave England was the first volunteer recruited at the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site in 2002, and he became a founding member of the Friends of Fairsted. Dave turned his hand to any task that presented itself. He prepared our tax returns, hosted committee meetings around the wood stove in his tiny Brookline home, even organized our field trip to Acadia National Park when we visited to learn from their Friends organization how to be a real Friends group.

Dave grew up as an Eagle Scout in Alamogordo NM and he returned to that desert landscape after retiring from his professional life in Brookline. He volunteered at a number of western National Parks, finally serving as a campground host at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. A few months before his death in 2018, Dave wrote thanking the people at Fairsted for setting him on the path to his retirement “career” as an NPS volunteer. Dave’s final gift to the Friends of Fairsted was a generous bequest and we are deeply grateful for it and for all of his support over the years.

Olmsted NPS Archives Achieve Digitizing Milestone!

During the 2016 Centennial year of the National Park Service, the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site successfully uploaded its 100,000th image to mark a significant achievement in making the archives of the Olmsted firm readily available online. The NPS spent fifteen years conserving and cataloging the landscape design firm’s 139,000 historic plans and drawings collection. With digital access now in great demand, the NPS began to make the collection available online using a familiar platform — Flickr — due to its popularity and ability to serve as a portal to the Olmsted digital collection by the general public. In the first phase, the park uploaded the entire historic photo album collection, as well as many plans and drawings. Olmsted NHS also received funding to support onsite scanning as well as off-site digital photography of materials that are too large or fragile to be handled in-house. While the Olmsted Research Guide Online remains the comprehensive search tool for Olmsted project-based research, the Flickr site provides immediate digital access to an important part of the collection, and is growing weekly as new materials are uploaded. Check out the Flickr site.

Celebrating 100 years of the National Park Service

Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site hosted a series of events from Aug 25–28 for the centennial celebration which was met with great interest and success. Thursday, August 25: a talk, “America’s Cradle: New England in Photographs” by award-winning photographer Xiomaro. An outdoor reception on the site’s South Lawn at 6:00pm celebrating winners and runners-up of “Inspired by Olmsted” visual art and writing contest for high school students. Friday, August 26: a series of Specialty Tours explore topics beyond the traditional tour. “Olmsteds & the Organic Act”, “Landscape for the Ages” and “An Interview with FLO”. Saturday, August 27: Opening the Olmsted Vault for viewing and highlighting the work of the Olmsted firm did in advocating and designing our National Parks, “From Policy to Plans: The Olmsteds Give Shape to Our National Parks” Sunday, August 28: Family Day at Fairsted, for family-focused activities on our South Lawn and hands-on experience in the Park Design Workshop. At 7:30pm a free showing of Yogi Bear to complete the celebrations.

Charles Beveridge named LALH 2015 Preservation Hero.

LALH Film “The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System”, based on the book by Frank Kowsky, which was featured as the Friends November 2013 lecture, received a 2015 Film Award from SAH. Read more.

The LALH film, “Community by Design: The Olmsted Firm and the Development of Brookline, Massachusetts”, partially funded by Friends of Fairsted, is now available online. Read more.

Two volumes of The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted are now availableSS2 (Plans and Views of Public Parks) and Volume 9.

New Board Members for 2014-2015
At our May 2014 annual meeting, the Friends elected four new board members and a new slate of officers.


Patrice Kish, Boston, MA, Co-president
Lauren Meier, Belmont, MA, Co-president
Thomas Woodward, Carlisle, MA, Vice-president
Erica Max, Roslindale, MA, Treasurer
Annie Blair, West Roxbury, MA, Clerk

New Directors

Pamela Hartford, Salem, MA
David Hessney, Brookline, MA
Victoria Ross, Brookline, MA
Sarah Vance, Brookline, MA
Kyle Zick, Roslindale, MA
Full list of the Board of Directors

Beveridge Fellowship Update
The due date for the 2015 Beveridge Fellowship application was April 1, 2015. The 2014 Charles E. Beveridge Research Fellowship went to Jeongyon (Mimi) Kim of Atlanta, Georgia for her proposal, “The Small Parks of Frederick Law Olmsted.”
Samuel Valentine of Cambridge, Massachusetts also received a research grant for his proposal, “What Lies Beneath: Documenting Buffalo’s Buried Quarry Garden and Envisioning its Rebirth”.
Beveridge Research Fellowship

New Exhibits Open

Come see the newly installed exhibits, Designing for the Future, The Olmsteds and the American Landscape. This new, multi-dimensional exhibit in the first floor of the Fairsted house, explores the work of the Olmsted firm from it’s beginnings at Central Park in New York City, to the relevance of the firm’s work to contemporary life. As part of an extensive interior renovation, historic wallpapers and finishes have been carefully re-created so that the interior spaces evoke the aesthetic sensibilities of the Olmsted family. Hours, directions, and information

Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
99 Warren Street, Brookline, MA

Come see the new education exhibits: Designing for the Future, The Olmsteds and the American Landscape at the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic, 99 Warren Street, Brookline, MA. For hours and schedule of ranger-lead tours of the historic design office, please consult the Olmsted NHS site.

On April 26, 2013, members of the Fairsted community, along with local school children, celebrated Arbor Day and Frederick Law Olmsted’s birthday by planting a new elm on the grounds of Fairsted. A Jefferson Elm descended from a particularly hardy and disease-resistant elm on the National Mall, this new tree will eventually grow up to a similar shape and size as the original Olmsted Elm which was removed in 2011 due to safety concerns caused by its advanced age and repeated bouts with various diseases.

A National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 20,751visitors in 2010 spent over $1.34 million as a result of visits to Brookline’s two NPS sites: Frederick Olmsted National Historic Site and John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site. For additional details, including a link to the full report, please see the official press release.