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 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.
A 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.”
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
Ray Dunetz Landscape Architecture, Inc.
The Trustees of Reservations
Tom Woodward and David LePere
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, 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).
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