Join the Olmsted Network on Jan 28 at 5 pm ET for a webinar with Cal Poly professor Christine Edstrom O’Hara!

In October 1922, the Olmsted Brothers opened their first West Coast office in Redondo Beach, California to accommodate the firm’s growing work in the region such as the new subdivision of Palos Verdes. Under terms required by Palos Verdes developer Frank Vanderlip, principals Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and James Frederick Dawson were required to live in the community while it was under design and construction. Long-term residence through the 1920s would enhance the firm’s understanding of Southern California’s regional ecology, knowledge that would have great importance for other major projects in the decades to come. The firm would need to adapt to unfamiliar ecological conditions in the region’s semi-arid Mediterranean climate and develop new models in landscape design, untested elsewhere in the United States.

Christine Edstrom O’Hara is a professor of landscape architecture at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.  She lectures on landscape history, preservation, and its application to sustainable landscape design and construction. A graduate of Stanford University, she received a master’s in landscape architecture and preservation planning from the University of Washington and PhD in landscape architecture at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on the Olmsted firm’s body of work in California and has been published in many journals including the Journal for the Society of Architectural Historians, Pacific Horticulture, and Landscape Journal. Her new book California Eden: Heritage Landscapes of the Golden State will be published in 2024. She has been a board member, trustee, on the Advisory Council for the National Association for Olmsted Parks, now Olmsted Network, and currently serves on the Scholars Council.