Riverside— a suburban village in IL— and Druid Hills— a neighborhood in Atlanta, GA— have joined together to commemorate Olmsted 200 in a special way. In recognition of the anniversary of Frederick Law Olmsted’s birth and based on their common bond as Olmsted’s first and last suburbs, respectively, the locations have issued a joint proclamation. The proclamation, found here, acknowledges their mutual bond and celebrates their mutual commitment to ensuring Olmsted’s legacy of parks for all people, community building, public health, sustainability, and stewardship.  

The proclamation began as an idea in the mind of longtime Druid Hills resident and former Dekalb County Commissioner Gale Walldorff. Walldorff ran for office after participating in the successful grassroots effort to stop the construction of a road that threatened the integrity of the neighborhood and its famous linear park— Olmsted Linear Park, the centerpiece of Olmsted’s Druid Hills design. Since then, she has been a staunch advocate of Atlanta’s Olmsted history. 

Inspired by a 2019 presentation by local landscape architect Spencer Tunnell, Walldorff felt that Druid Hills and Riverside should embark upon a “sister cities” effort. A dedicated group of Druid Hills supporters then reached out to Riverside with the idea. This proclamation serves as a simple first step in building a collaborative relationship between the two places.

Riverside and Druid Hills are not the only ones issuing proclamations in light of Olmsted 200. Proclamations, approved and in the works, include but are not limited to the following. 

  • Pinehurst Village Council
  • IL Legislature
  • KY Legislature
  • Trenton, NJ
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Rochester, NY
  • State of New York
  • State of Wisconsin
  • And, the bipartisan Congressional proclamation here

To learn more about Druid Hills, please see our recent spotlight here, and to learn more about Riverside, please see our spotlight here. Proclamation templates can be found in our Advocacy Toolkit.

This article first appeared in the April 1, 2022, issue of Field Notes by the National Association for Olmsted Parks.