Gallaudet University

This thematic category includes a wide variety of building types, some of which might not be readily identified with residential institutions. The types of structures for which landscape plans were considered or prepared include public mental institutions (e.g., the New York State Insane Asylum at Poughkeepsie), hospitals of various types (e.g., the Contagious Disease Hospital in Holyoke, Massachusetts), homes for the elderly (e.g. the Keep Home in Watertown, New York), tuberculosis sanatoriums (e.g., the Dayton Tuberculosis Hospital in Dayton, Ohio), military housing (e.g., South Portland Housing in South Portland, Maine), orphan asylums (e.g., the Polish Orphanage in New Britain, Connecticut) and religious institutions (e.g., the Blessed Gabriel Monastery in Brighton, Massachusetts).

Residential institution projects range in date from the years of Olmsted’s partnership with Calvert Vaux (1865-1872) to the later years of the Olmsted firm in the 1970s. Some undertakings, such as the New York State Asylum at Poughkeepsie, were done in collaboration with Vaux. After Frederick Law Olmsted ceased active practice in 1895, the firm’s residential institution projects were guided by John Charles Olmsted, Charles Eliot and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. The residential institutions for which Frederick Law Olmsted and the successor firm provided landscape plans, most of which date from the twentieth century, were designed by a variety of architects, some well-known and some not so well known.

The Master List indicates that many residential institution projects have a job number but no associated plans, but this does not necessarily mean that the firm did not undertake design work for these clients. For example, the campus of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf (the present Gallaudet University) in Washington, D.C., was laid out by Olmsted and Vaux in the 1860s. Likewise, Olmsted’s association with the Bloomingdale Asylum in New York City played a significant role in his thinking about therapeutic landscapes. The categories Subdivisions and Suburban Communities and Grounds of Public Buildings also contain a few similar residential institution projects such as the United States War Department housing, which appears in the latter category.

Learn More (Courtesy of NPS-FLONHS)