Cadwalader Park – An Olmsted Vision (Abridged)

Posted in Current Exhibits, Exhibits, Featured

Holmes Bandshell 2

On Display Now through Patriot’s Week

This past summer, former and current admirers of Cadwalader Park visited Ellarslie to enjoy exhibits about their beloved park and its designer. Visitors so loved the exhibit, that many of the items and historical images from the  have been consolidated into one large second floor gallery.  Visitors will meet the Park’s originators — Frederick Law Olmsted, landscape architect, and Edmund Hill of Trenton – and appreciate the success of their work.  Vintage photos, postcards, paintings and air photos bring museum visitors into every corner of the Park in a period spanning 115 years.

Watch this video about the park.

Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of Central Park and Trenton’s own Cadwalader Park, is considered to be the father of American landscape architecture.  His public parks, the design of which he was most proud, have had a lasting effect on urban America. Celebrating 115 years of that legacy, the exhibit at Ellarslie will explore the importance of Cadwalader Park to Trenton residents and visitors alike.

Read more about the park.

Frederick Law Olmsted

Frederick Law Olmsted

Born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1822, Frederick Law Olmsted spent many years experiencing various professions and touring the world seeking and absorbing knowledge before honing in on landscape design as his life’s passion. He first studied surveying, engineering, chemistry and farming and toured Europe visiting numerous parks and private estates. He published books on his travels and used his literary activities to oppose slavery and to argue for abolition of slavery in the southern United States.

By the time FLO began his work in landscape architecture, he had developed a belief in community and understood the importance of public institutions. Olmsted believed that the public realm should be a respite; a place to retreat from the stress of urban life, and that public open space should be accessible to all people. In 1857 he took the position of superintendent of Central Park in New York City and, along with architect Calvin Vaux, won the design competition for the park the following year. He then spent the next seven years as the primary administrator in charge of the construction of Central Park. Olmsted’s success in park-making in NYC led to his renowned career designing and creating some of our nation’s most important urban parks. By the time FLO began to design Cadwalader Park in 1890, he had been planning parks in this country’s leading cities for over 30 years. Cadwalader Park in Trenton is Olmsted’s last great urban park.

Cadwalader Park has the distinction of being the only New Jersey park designed personally by Frederick Law Olmsted. While many other New Jersey parks and spaces were designed by the Olmsted firm in the years following the creation of Trenton’s largest park, Cadwalader is the only New Jersey park to be designed by FLO himself. Trenton is fortunate to possess one of these urban treasures which still preserves many of the landscape and spatial qualities of the original plan. Cadwalader Park is beloved by many of Trenton’s residents who nostalgically recall pony rides, picnics, concerts and the balloon man and, also, by many who come today to experience tennis matches, baseball games and family outings not to mention those who flock to the various exhibits offered at the Trenton City Museum.

In addition, Mercer County is privileged to accommodate Olmsted’s greatest campus design, the grounds of Lawrenceville School. Olmsted’s core design principles are evident at Lawrenceville School in the rolling landscape and curving paths throughout.

Read this article about Cadwalader Park and the summer exhibit in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Read this review of the summer exhibit by Anthony Stoeckert.

Read this article by Ilene Dube.

A more extensive article by Ilene Dube can be found here.

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