Frederick Law Olmsted
The bronze bust and granite base of Frederick Law Olmsted is located in the Prudential Concert Grove in the Southern Division of Branch Brook Park. It was designed to complement the bust and granite base of Mendelssohn, which was placed on the opposite side of the Prudential Concert Grove last year. The bronze bust depicts Olmsted as a young man, which is the stage of life he would have been when he consulted on Branch Brook Park. The plaque and granite base weigh approximately 15 tons. Sculptor Jay Warren from Oregon designed the Olmsted bust. Warren also has worked with Essex County to design statues of the Rescue Dog at the September 11th Memorial; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Governor Brendan Byrne, Congressman Donald Payne, Rosa Parks, Sgt. Jorge Oliveira and Justice William Brennan at the Essex County Hall of Records Complex in Newark and the Althea Gibson Statue in Essex County Branch Brook Park in Newark. It was funded with grants from Prudential and the Essex County Parks Foundation.
A bronze plaque commemorating the dedication begins with a quote by Olmsted: “The enjoyment of scenery employs the mind without fatigue and yet exercises it; tranquilizes it and yet enlivens it.” It continues with: “Often referred to as the “Father of Landscape Architecture,” Frederick Law Olmsted raised awareness about the importance of preserving open spaces in urban places. He understood parks and recreation facilities contributed to overall public health and quality of life, and believed all residents should have access to these oases. In 1867, when our Essex County forefathers conceived of the plan to develop Essex County Branch Brook Park in Newark, they consulted with Olmsted, the pre-eminent authority of the time. Although it took another three decades for the idea to reach fruition, Essex County set the standard by creating the first county parks system in the nation and opening Branch Brook as the first county park in 1895. In fact, the landscape architectural firm headed by Olmsted’s sons, John C. and Frederick Law Jr., designed many of the County’s parks. Today, the Parks System features 23 parks, 5 reservations and numerous recreation facilities. Highlighted by stunning vistas, beautiful greenways and picturesque settings, our 6,000 acres of parkland continue the tradition of preserving open spaces and creating recreational opportunities for the community’s benefit.”
Olmsted was born in 1822 and died in 1903. In addition to working on Branch Brook Park, some of the parks he designed include Central Park in New York, the parks system in Buffalo, N.Y., Niagara Reservation in Niagara Falls, N.Y., the Emerald Necklace in Boston, Mass., and the landscaping around the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The landscape architectural firm headed by Olmsted’s sons, John C. and Frederick Law Jr., designed or redesigned 17 parks and three reservations for the Essex County Parks System.
The Essex County Park System was created in 1895 and is the first county park system established in the United States. Branch Brook Park was created in 1895 and is the first park in Essex County’s system. At 359.72 acres, it is the largest county park in Essex. (Description from Essex County, NJ website)