olmsted and vaux

#onthisday in 1853, the New York State Legislature enacted into law the setting aside of more than 750 acres of land central to Manhattan Island to create America’s first major landscaped public park. And thus,#CentralPark was born. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the winners of the 1858 design competition for Central Park, along with reformers hoped that the creation of a public park would improve public health and spark the formation of a civil society. The success of Central Park helped to foster the urban park movement across the country. This image features Bethesda Fountain, the only statue that was commissioned for the Park. Created by Emma Stebbins, it was the first time a woman received a public art commission in NYC. Happy Birthday Central Park! 

Photograph Information:
Augustus Hepp
[Bethesda Fountain.]
DATE:ca. 1800

Conservatory Garden Central Park. The Southern portion of the Garden is the very intimate English-style garden. The fountain is Bessie Potter Vonnah’s tribute to Frances Hodgson Burnett, the author of the children’s classic, The Secret Garden. A girl and a boy stand at one end of a small water lily pool with concentric rings of flower beds surrounding. There are five mixed borders of trees, shrubs and perennial plants, and five seasonal beds featuring spring bulbs that are followed by annual flower displays. 


Located on along a rocky ledge extending from 110th to 123rd streets, Morningside park, designed by Olmsted and Vaux, is comprised of approximately 30 acres. Morningside Park features a massive buttressed masonry retaining wall with a parapet, imposing entrance stairways, natural rock outcroppings, and curving pathways across the site. The park boasts three important sculptures: Lafayette and Washington (1890, by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty); the Carl Schurz Monument (1909-1913, by sculptor Karl Bitter and architect Henry Bacon, who is responsible for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.) and Bear and Faun/Seligman Fountain (c. 1910, by Edgar Melville Walter, a sculptor and student of Auguste Rodin).

Photos: MCNY, MCNY, MCNY, NYC Parks.