Photo courtesy Hott Productions


Community by Design
The Olmsted Firm and the Development of Brookline, Massachusetts

In 1883, Frederick Law Olmsted deserted New York City for Brookline, which had anointed itself the “richest town in the world.” Over the next half century, he and his successor firm became the dominant force in the planned development of this community. Featuring LALH author Keith N. Morgan, this film tells the story of the development of the wealthy Boston suburb through the planning initiatives of the firm.  From Fairsted, the Olmsteds’ Brookline home and office, the office collaborated with an impressive galaxy of neighbors which included the architect H. H. Richardson and the horticulturalist Charles Sprague Sargent.

Through plans for boulevards and parkways, residential subdivisions, institutional grounds, and private gardens, the firm carefully guided the development of the town, as they designed cities and suburbs across America. While Olmsted Sr. used landscape architecture as his vehicle for development, his son and namesake, “Rick,” viewed Brookline as grounds for experiment in the new profession of city and regional planning, a field that he was helping to define and lead. 

You can read more about the Olmsted office and their work in Brookline in Community by Design.

Created by LALH in association with Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc.