Free and open to the public

Laurence Cotton; Writer | Public Historian | Filmmaker

The year 2022 marks the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted. Utica has an impressive parks system designed by his son, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., on land generously donated by the Proctor family that continues to enhance the quality of life for area residents.

The Olmsted family left an enormous imprint on the American landscape by designing urban, state, and national public parks, private estates and gardens, residential neighborhoods, communities, and institutional campuses. The Olmsted philosophy focused on physical and mental health and the role of parks in enacting democracy in a multi-ethnic, multiracial society.

Laurence Cotton originated and served as principal researcher and Consulting Producer for the 2014 nationally broadcast PBS film, “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America” and has given talks across the country about the Olmsted legacy.

Having grown up with the Olmsted-designed Emerald Necklace park system in Boston, Mr. Cotton relocated to Portland, Oregon, another city with a parks system inspired by Olmsted’s design. As he puts it, his walk on the “Olmsted path” began in earnest in 2007, with early research for the PBS film. He has immersed himself in Olmsted scholarship and visited nearly every Olmsted-designed landscape across North America.

Join us as he presents a fast-paced, illustrated talk about the life, career, and legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted along with a mini-travelogue of selected Olmsted landscapes—including those designed by his son, who did so much work in Utica. Come learn about the extraordinary legacy of this Renaissance man and how his contributions are still relevant today.