In 1873, Frederick Law Olmsted was asked by Senator Justin Morrill, then chairman of the Senate Committee on Buildings and Grounds, to devise a plan for the recently expanded Capitol Grounds. Barely a decade after the Civil War, Congress was interested in creating a setting fitting for the new united government.
Olmsted spent 18 years overseeing the development of the Grounds, focusing on ensuring easy and convenient access to the Building as well as creating a series of tiered terraces that anchored the building aesthetically to the landscape.
He created paths that would invite citizens to experience the People’s House without distraction or concern for safety. Visitors could enjoy a shady spot in the Summer House or rest on seats offering views of the Capitol, framed by trees.
To showcase this history, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, an Olmsted 200 celebration partner, has released two very special offerings to mark the upcoming bicentennial of Olmsted’s birth, Olmsted 200.
The 2022 Capitol Calendar is entitled We the People, Celebrating Frederick Law Olmsted, Landscape Architect of the Capitol. The cover features the famous Summer House. And every month offers a colorful tidbit about Olmsted design on Capitol Hill. Buy the calendar by clicking here.
For 2022, the USCHS is also offering a limited edition “Commemorative Bicentennial Olmsted Ornament.” Buy the ornament by clicking here.