by Chris Stevens, ASLA
The following article highlights the importance of documenting historic landscapes for perpetuity. For the 13th annual HALS Challenge competition, the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) invites you to document Olmsted Landscapes. 2022 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, social reformer and founder of American landscape architecture. By documenting Olmsted landscapes for HALS, you will increase public awareness of historic landscapes and illuminate Olmsted’s living legacy. Any site designed or planned in part or in full by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., his firm, and the firm continued by his sons, John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Junior, is eligible.
The Olmsted Landscapes HALS Challenge deadline is quickly approaching. Short format histories should be submitted to HALS at the National Park Service no later than July 31, 2022. Surprisingly, there are not many Olmsted-related sites within the HALS Collection at the Library of Congress. Your entries will not only help celebrate Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.’s 200th birthday, but they will help round out the collection with more Olmsted documentation.
The Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) was created in 2000 to document our country’s significant landscapes. The National Park Service oversees HALS; the American Society of Landscape Architects provides professional guidance and support; and the Library of Congress preserves the documentation and makes it available to the public. The Historic American Building Survey (HABS, established in 1933) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER, since 1969) are older programs and thus have much more documentation.