Opening in Spring 1890 with nine sample “cottages,” a rail station and Inn, Sudbrook quickly became popular for its beauty, clean air, pure water and Olmsted lineage.
About Sudbrook Park
Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1889, with assistance from his stepson John Charles Olmsted, Sudbrook was planned by Olmsted and its developer, The Sudbrook Company, to be a year-round suburban village.
Olmsted’s artful plan for Sudbrook took carriages over a narrow bridge above the rail line, after which five roads of continuous curvature fanned out. Landscaped “triangles” at intersecting roadways and greenspaces placed throughout the community provided picturesque areas and informal, shaded gathering spots for residents and holiday festivities.
Olmsted insisted on several deed restrictions, early precursors of later zoning laws, that governed lot size, setbacks and height, excluded commercial activities and required acceptable sanitation practices. The majority of lots were about an acre, but Olmsted also included smaller lots for the less affluent.
Opening in Spring 1890 with nine sample “cottages,” a rail station and Inn, Sudbrook quickly became popular for its beauty, clean air, pure water and Olmsted lineage. Many Baltimoreans, however, were slow to accept year-round suburban living. Undependable train service also dampened sales. A second wave of suburban development starting in 1938 filled in undeveloped areas and completed the community.
A portion of Sudbrook was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973; the National Register District and additional areas were designated Baltimore County Historic Districts in the 1990s.
Sudbrook has weathered many changes and battled threats from several major transportation projects since it was planned as an innovative “suburban village” by America’s foremost landscape architect. Thanks to Olmsted’s genius, as well as decades of dedicated residents, Sudbrook remains a beautiful, cohesive community and ongoing “respite for the spirit.”
1889 Plan for Sudbrook courtesy of NPS/Olmsted NHS
Near Entranceway (1940s)
Sudbrook Station from The Sudbrook Company Sales Brochure
Cottage No. 1 from The Sudbrook Company Sales Brochure (1890s)
Entranceway Bridge from The Sudbrook Company Sales Brochure (1890s)
Shared SpacesSpotlight on…Sudbrook
Spotlight on… Druid Hills and Olmsted Linear ParkDruid Hills, now one of Atlanta’s historic in-town neighborhoods, is Frederick Law Olmsted’s “last suburb.” Three men made Druid Hills...
Spotlight on… Riverside, ILOne of the first planned communities in the U.S.—Riverside, IL (Project Number 00607)—is said to be the realization of Frederick...
Subdivisions and Suburban Communities“No great town can long exist without great suburbs,” wrote Frederick Law Olmsted in 1868. At the time Olmsted and...
Terwilliger Parkway is characterized by slower speeds, curves following the contours of the hills, and opportunities to leisurely enjoy scenic vistas and outdoor recreation made possible by a wooded buffer zone of about 100 feet on both sides.
Stanford University, located in California’s Silicon Valley, was founded in 1885, “to promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Just a year later, Frederick Law Olmsted began planning the physical campus.