Led by Chicago park historian Julia Bachrach and Rebecca Graff, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Lake Forest College, this virtual seminar explores the Olmsteds’ contributions to Chicago. Julia Bachrach is author of The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks and Rebecca Graff is author of Disposing of Modernity: The Archaeology of Garbage and Consumerism during Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair.
Chicago was an important city to Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. and the Olmsted Brothers. Spanning a period of more than three decades, the Olmsted firm designed over a dozen parks, many which were nationally influential. Despite these important contributions, the lOlmsted legacy in Chicago is often overlooked. This three-part virtual seminar will explore the early development of Olmsted & Vaux’s 1871 Plan of South Park (Jackson and Washington Parks and the Midway Plaisance); Olmsted Sr.’s role in designing the grounds of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park; and the firm’s work to transform the fair site back into useable parkland after the fair. It will also include Olmsted Brother’s involvement in designing the University of Chicago campus and the firm’s role in producing plans for a system of revolutionary neighborhood parks in the city’s tenement districts.