Buffalo native and heritage conservation architect Clinton Brown invites you to Olmsted’s Elmwood, the neighborhood that lies within the embracing arms of Frederick Law Olmsted’s parkways that lead to The Park, now known as Delaware Park.

Based on the vision he presented to civic leaders in 1868, Olmsted and his firm designed an unmatched system of parks and parkways that defined Buffalo’s dramatic growth, suffered from its decline and were a source for its renewal over the past 150 years.

This virtual trip to Olmsted’s Elmwood District will show how Olmsted’s values and designs fit into Buffalo’s founding in the early 19th century. His parkways were the armature around which a streetcar suburb emerged at the turn of the last century. Changes in transportation, lifestyles and the Great Depression took their toll here, and the automobile suburb provided a private park in every backyard. Olmsted’s works were neglected and even demolished.

Today, Olmsted’s Elmwood District is renewed based on new appreciation for the Olmsted inheritance, led by Joan Bozer, Frank Kowsky and others, and it has been named one of America’s Top Ten neighborhoods.

Yet the struggle to attract new investment, welcome all people equitably and conserve historic character goes on. Brown will conclude by proposing we take a curatorial approach to managing everyday living urban heritage landscapes used for Olmsted parks to include the communities around them.

Firm founder, historic preservation architect Clinton Brown, FAIA, has taught at the SUNY Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning and Willowbank School of Restoration Arts. He is a frequent speaker on historic preservation and Main Street revitalization. New York’s Governor appointed him to the Board that is overseeing the rehabilitation of the National Historic Landmark Richardson Olmsted Campus, the former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane. His book, Olmsted’s Elmwood: The Rise, Decline and Renewal of Buffalo’s Parkway Neighborhood, A Model for America’s Cities, published by City of Light Publishing in 2022.