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Buffalo Olmsted Parks Recognize Frederick Law Olmsted’s First Visit To Buffalo 150 Years Ago

By August 16, 2018August 18th, 2018No Comments


Conservancy, State Leadership, the City and Park Partners announce seven-day, 150-hour celebration

Contact: Sara Serafin,

Buffalo, N.Y. – August 16, 2018— The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the first nonprofit organization in the nation to manage and operate an entire urban park system, was joined by state leadership and the City, it’s public partner, to celebrate renowned landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. Today, marks 150 years to the date when Mr. Olmsted first visited Buffalo on August 16, 1868 and forever changed the landscape of this great community.  Buffalo’s Olmsted Park System became the first designed urban park system in all of America.

“When Olmsted came to Buffalo, he did more than design one great park as he did with Central Park, he designed the first park and parkway system in the nation,” said Stephanie Crockatt, executive director of the Conservancy. “At the Conservancy, our nonprofit mission is to preserve his legacy while restoring and caring for these valuable historic treasures for the community’s greater good.  Mr. Olmsted designed our parks to ensure greenspace for generations – they could never be re-created today – that’s why we’re asking Buffalo to appreciate this gift and come out to enjoy them during this incredible moment in time and history.”

Joined by dozens of dignitaries, park partners, supporters and community members, the Conservancy continues its year-long 150th Celebration with today’s announcement of a seven-day schedule of events totaling 150 hours of Olmsted. Events kicked off Wednesday, August 15th at noon with an aerial photo that positioned 250 volunteers and staff into a “150” configuration. The calendar continues over the next week and includes:

  • August 17th, 8:30 p.m.: Free Family Movie Night at Cazenovia Park presented by Wegmans, featuring Antz, in front of the Casino
  • August 17th, Dusk: Buffalo LIT (Landmark Illumination Team), a Mayor Byron W. Brown initiative that will light the city’s skyline including City Hall, the Peace Bridge, Seneca One Tower, The Electric Tower, historic grain elevators, Niagara Falls and more, in Olmsted Orange, to make a statement at night through various illumination effects. Niagara Falls will also be lit in recognition.
  • August 18th, Dawn to Dusk: Picnic & Play in the Parks encourages park goers to enjoy time exploring the parks and reconnecting with nature, the way Olmsted intended. Both golf courses at Delaware and South Park will be closed the entire day to allow access to the meadows. With support from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, special “Unstructured Olmsted” play kits will be located in the meadows for the public to use.  If you see an orange tub with a blue top, you’ve found one! Open it up to find all kinds of park approved toys including giant Jenga, bubbles, hula hoops and much, much more! We encourage everyone to come out to the parks to Picnic and Play the old-fashioned way.
  • August 19th, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Bark in the Park presented by Univera will bring pet lovers together to enjoy a day at Hoyt Lake with their four-legged friends. Activities include demonstrations from the City’s K-9 unit, a dog parade, training classes, a grooming station and pet expo with local vendors and City of Buffalo Animal Shelter.
  • August 20th, 8 p.m.: Free Family Movie Night at Shakespeare Hill in Delaware Park presented by Wegmans, featuring Secret Life of Pets.
  • August 21st, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.: Keep the beer “FLO”ing Member Happy Hour with Community Beer Works will offer sample pours of CBW beer, including the Frank Beer, which has been renamed “Fred” for the occasion. The Conservancy hopes to recruit 150 new members throughout the week, so join in the fun by purchasing your membership at this event!

“Today we mark the foundational milestone of Buffalo’s incredible Olmsted Parks System,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Frederick Law Olmsted’s work and vision put Buffalo on the map and defined the character and identity of the city. As we celebrate the 150th Anniversary of our parks system and Olmsted’s first visit to Buffalo, I am reminded of his words when he said ‘A park is a work of art.’ We may have some of the best art galleries around, but to see our greatest work of art all you have to do is go outside and look around upon the beauty of our Olmsted Parks System.”

“It’s always a good day when we celebrate our Olmsted Parks and this morning we continue to enjoy a year-long celebration to commemorate the legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed the nation’s first urban park system in the City of Buffalo,” said Mayor Brown, as he highlighted the City of Buffalo’s strong public-private partnership with the Conservancy that was forged in 2010 to ensure these parks were enriched and well-maintained for all to enjoy. “With over $6.2 billion in new economic development activity since 2012, my Administration has invested over $66 million in all our parks citywide. We recognize the importance of our parks as a catalyst for future growth, and the 150 hours of celebrating Olmsted, will attract even more interest in our outstanding Olmsted Parks, keeping Buffalo’s great network of parks in the global spotlight.”

In partnership with The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy app sponsor M&T Bank, a second augmented reality feature was unveiled that enables Front Park users to learn about the lost landscape: The Lake View House. The app, available on both iPhone and Android, offers several different features to park users, including interactive wayfinding through 850 acres of the park system; a trivia game with more than 100 questions on the past, present and future of the parks and their unique features within the landscape;  a calendar to keep up to date on all events in the parks, including those associated with the 150th Celebration and an augmented reality interaction with Olmsted and the Quarry Garden, a lost landscape within Delaware Park.

Many others, like M&T, have come forward to show their support for the 150th Celebration as well as their pride for the Olmsted Landscape.  The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation have made significant gifts, as well as many private donors, to ensure its large scale awareness campaign and celebratory outreach is a successful endeavor for the parks and Conservancy.  This weekend, neighboring cultural institutions to the Olmsted system like The Buffalo History Museum, The Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo Zoo, The Darwin Martin House, and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, have all embraced a “proud to be in an Olmsted landscape” message with their own patrons.

“Today as we all celebrate Olmsted’s first visit to Buffalo and reflect on this moment in time we remember him as being inspired by the city’s radial street system and its connection to the water,” said Kevin Kelly, President, Travel Hospitality Services at Delaware North Companies and Chairman of the 150th celebration. “The creation of a full system of parks connected by green parkways and landscaped circles was truly unique and meant for every one of us to enjoy freely.  Buffalo should be as proud, as Frederick Law Olmsted himself proclaimed, Buffalo is “the best-planned city…in America, if not the world.”


About the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy
The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is the first nonprofit organization in the nation to manage and operate an entire urban park system that consists of over 850 acres of beautifully designed parks, parkways and circles. The park system was designed by America’s first landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, 150 years ago and today, more than 2.5 million people use Buffalo’s historic, award-winning Olmsted Park System annually for recreation, relaxation and rejuvenation. Since 2004, necessary maintenance of the parks has been greatly improved since the groundbreaking public/private agreement between the City of Buffalo, Erie County and The Buffalo Park Conservancy. The Conservancy is a membership-based, community organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, restore, enhance and maintain the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed landscape in the Greater Buffalo area. Learn more:

The Buffalo Olmsted Park System includes:
Six parks: Cazenovia Park in South Buffalo, Delaware Park in Delaware/Parkside District, Front Park at the Peace Bridge, Martin Luther King, Jr. Park at Fillmore Avenue, Riverside Park at Niagara and Tonawanda Street, and South Park at McKinley Parkway
Seven parkways: Bidwell, Chapin, Lincoln, McKinley, Porter, Red Jacket, and Richmond
Eight landscaped traffic circles: Agassiz, Colonial, Ferry, Gates, McClellan, McKinley, Soldiers, and Symphony.