Louisville’s is one of the four completed park systems that Olmsted designed during his career. The others are Buffalo, Boston and Rochester.
About the Louisville Parks System
Louisville’s parks and parkways were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and his sons, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and John Charles Olmsted. It is one of the four completed park systems that Olmsted designed during his career, joining Buffalo, Boston and Rochester.
In 1891, Olmsted was invited to Louisville by a group of prominent citizens. Impressed by his ideas, the group contracted with his firm for the development of a master plan for three multi-purpose parks. Olmsted’s designs for Cherokee, Iroquois and Shawnee took advantage of the topographical elements unique to each sector of the city. Nearly 15 miles of tree-lined parkways connected these parks, creating access and spurring the development of nearby neighborhoods across the city.
As Louisville continued to grow, city leaders recognized the need for small, inner-city parks and looked to the firm for guidance. All in all, Olmsted and his successor firm developed plans for eighteen parks and six parkways: Algonquin Park, Baxter Square, Bingham Park, Boone Square, Central Park, Cherokee Park, Chickasaw Park, Elliott Park, Iroquois Park, Seneca Park, Shawnee Park, Shelby Park, Stansbury Park, Tyler Park, Victory Park, Wayside Park, Willow Park, Algonquin Parkway, Cherokee Parkway, Eastern Parkway, Northwestern Parkway, Southern Parkway, Southwestern Parkway, and Churchill Park (no longer extant).
As the last park system created by Olmsted, Louisville’s parks and parkways remain an extraordinary asset and point of pride for the city. Louisville’s Olmsted park system is often deemed the “ultimate” park system of Olmsted’s career.
Beargrass Preserve at Cherokee Park
Shared SpacesSpotlight on… Olmsted Parks Conservancy
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Landscape Architecture & Design
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People have flocked to the mountain ever since to enjoy the restorative power of nature and the undeniable beauty of this Olmstedian masterpiece.
The creation of Lake Park began in 1891 and is one of Frederick Law Olmsted’s last projects before his retirement in 1895.