Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, Brookline

#6 of 7 in Things to do in Brookline
Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site is a United States National Historic Site located in Brookline, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903) is recognized as the founder of American landscape architecture and the nation's foremost parkmaker of the 19th century. In 1883, Olmsted moved his home to suburban Boston and established "Fairsted", the world's first full-scale professional office for the practice of landscape design. Over the course of the next century, his sons and successors expanded and perpetuated Olmsted's design ideals, philosophy, and influence.
The site is located at 99 Warren Street, in the Green Hill section of Brookline. Olmsted bought the Clark homestead, an 1810 Federal farmhouse, in 1883, to be near his frequent collaborator, H. H. Richardson, whose home and office were nearby. Olmsted and his son John Charles renovated the house, landscaped the property, and relocated the barn closer to the house, and in 1903 added the office wing to the northwest of the main house. Members of the Olmsted family occupied the main house until 1936, when Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. moved to Elkton, Maryland, renting the house to tenants. The offices of the Olmsted Brothers firm continued to be in the wing during this time, although business also declined. Members of the firm reoccupied the house in the 1960s, making substantial alterations to the original landscaping of the property. The property was acquired by the National Park Service in 1980. The grounds have been restored to a c. 1930 appearance, restoring much of Olmsted's landscaping.
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Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site Reviews
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  • We were fortunate enough to be in town for the 'open house', where staff was available to provide background to all that there was to see. What a gifted and remarkable man he was!  more »
  • Visited in early November, when leaves were at prime in Brookline. It was absolutely lovely, walking from the bus to the FLO site. A bit of a brisk walk, yet a beautiful sunny day. I arrived a little ...  more »
  • One of the highlights of the week. Everything was beautifully preserved. The rangers were super knowledgeable. I would definitely recommend a ranger-led tour. If you have kids (or even if you don't!), ask about the jr ranger program. Parking can be limited, but is free.
  • What an incredible place! While many Americans have never heard of Frederick Law Olmstead, almost every American knows of or has experienced one of the parks he designed. The house/office reflects both his unique style and functionality. I would highly highly recommend a visit if you like parks, landscaping, or cool houses.

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