Frederick Law Olmsted | A Passion for Parks, National Geographic: Buffalo Parkway Neighborhood

Snow scene from overlook showing houses and streets with lines of trees in center median strip.

Shrouded in a light, misty snow, Chapin Parkway is one of seven tree-lined boulevards planned for the Buffalo, New York park system. Although other cities have implemented this kind of plan, it was in 1868 that Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux tried to integrate a system of parks and parkways for the first time.

Olmsted designed the parkways so that within steps of each resident’s door was the entrance to a park-like setting. The parkways in Olmsted’s day were smoothly paved and intended solely for use of private carriages. Featuring 200-foot rights of way and flanked by several rows of trees, they were designed to provide open space for the neighborhoods through which they passed.

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