Laurence Cotton on Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America

  • 10/26/2022
  • 6:30 PM
  • October 26, 2022 6:30 PM CT via Zoom. Zoom presentation is free and open to all. Advance registration is required via website.


  • Speaker and speaker's guest; event administrator, A/V technician
  • Zoom presentation is free and open to all.

Registration is closed

October Evening Program

Sponsored by the Caxton Club and the Union League Club of Chicago

The year 2022 marks the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted, landscape designer for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago’s Jackson Park and designer of Riverside, Illinois. Public historian Laurence Cotton will talk about the national footprint of all the Olmsteds – father, two sons and the Olmsted Bros. landscape architecture firm – and how the Olmsted family left an enormous imprint on the American landscape by designing urban, state, and national public parks, private estates and gardens, residential neighborhoods, communities, and institutional campuses. The Olmsted philosophy focused on physical and mental health and the role of parks in enacting democracy in a multi-ethnic, multiracial society.

In his presentation, Laurence will explore the Olmsted legacy and give a visual tour of selected Olmsted landscapes across the country, with something of a focus on the upper Midwest and the Great Lakes states.

Laurence Cotton was the originator, principal researcher, and Consulting Producer for the nationally broadcast PBS film Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America. He has presented the film many times across the country since it was first broadcast in 2014 and during this year, he is making additional appearances across the United States, delivering his new PowerPoint presentation about the Olmsted legacy as part of the Olmsted200 commemoration. In addition to his Olmsted expertise, in his home state of Oregon, he has served as Executive Director of World Affairs Council of Oregon (now WorldOregon), on the board of directors of the Oregon State Parks Foundation (now Oregon Parks Forever), as content provider to Maya Lin and her team for the Confluence Project, and as Co-Chair of the Environmental Education Association of Oregon (EEAO).

Register for this program today.

When registering, copies of Olmsted and Yosemite: Civil War, Abolition, and the National Park Idea, published by the Library of American Landscape History, can be purchased for $28.50, including tax and shipping.

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