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The Olmsted Legacy:

The Development of the Mount Holyoke College Campus


Central Park Plan. This plan shows the meandering paths and garden sections that are typical of an Olmsted design.(1)

Mount Holyoke College Campus Map. Similar to the plan for Central Park, Mount Holyoke's campus impliments meandering paths and garden sections in it's campus design. (2)




The Olmstead Plan is Born: Frederick Law Olmsted served as the cheif architect of Central Park in New York City from 1858-1861. Central Park is a perfect example of Olmsted's design principles. The park conforms to the contours of nature and even though it is a highly constructed location, it appears natural with its rich woodlands, winding paths, hills and valleys. Looking at the juxtaposition of the two maps above, one from Central Park and the other from Mount Holyoke College, one can see the design similarities with the meandering paths.

Square Up the Campus:In 1928, Arthur A. Shurcliff suggested a general plan for Mount Holyoke. The plan would square up the campus and give it a more quadrangular orientation. Due to budget cuts surrounding the Great Depression, the project was never realized.

The Olmsted Design Returns: In the 1970's Arthur's son Sidney N. Shurcliff came to Mount Holyoke. Shurcliff had spent time researching his father's involvement with the Olmsted Firm where Arthur had originally studied. Due to his reasearch and his respect for the Olmsted design, Sidney suggested designs for the campus that implimented the Olmsted design principles.


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Atlas Home Page The Olmsted Legacy Frederick Law Olmsted Olmsted's Design Principles Olmsted's Design for MHC
Shurcliff's Design for MHC 1904 Garden Gettell Amphitheater References



This page was created byShay Campbell 07 in History 283, Spring Semester 2006 -