Shelburne Farms is an education nonprofit on a mission to inspire and cultivate learning for a sustainable future through its programs, place and products.
About Shelburne Farms
Shelburne Farms was once the agricultural estate of Lila Vanderbilt and Dr. William Seward Webb. Between 1886 and 1902, the couple bought 32 farms on Shelburne Point, amassing 3,800 acres along Lake Champlain, framed by the Adirondack Mountains to the west and the Green Mountains to the east. It was an ideal canvas for Frederick Law Olmsted.
When Olmsted visited Shelburne Farms in 1886, he offered ideas on the function and design of the property. Within a year, he crafted a plan to divide the property into three parts—farm, forest and parklands.
Olmsted borrowed design principles from the English naturalist landscape tradition of the early 18th century, whereby parks were built around three elements: broad meadows, diverse woodlands and water reflecting the sky. All of these features were– and remain –abundant at Shelburne Farms.
To highlight the features, roads were laid out through the natural topography of hills and hollows to alternately obscure and reveal vistas, creating mystery and surprise in the landscape and framing the magnificent buildings designed by Robert H. Robertson.
Olmsted’s involvement at Shelburne Farms was brief, but his ideas were ably implemented by the Webbs’ first General Manager— Archibald (“Arthur”) Taylor— and Olmsted’s imprint at Shelburne Farms is unmistakable.
Today, Shelburne Farms is an education nonprofit on a mission to inspire and cultivate learning for a sustainable future through its programs, place and products. Home to the Institute for Sustainable Schools, the historic campus is a 1,400-acre diversified farm located on the homelands of the Winooskik band of the Abenaki.
Shared SpacesSpotlight on…Shelburne Farms
Private Estates and HomesteadsThe design of residential grounds constituted the largest category of projects for the Olmsted firm over the entirety of its...
Spotlight on… BiltmoreA Deliberate Approach The three-mile Approach Road that meanders from Biltmore Village up to Biltmore House is not there by accident—it’s the result...
Charles E. Beveridge
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