Laurence Cotton, Olmsted presentation October 15, 7.pm at the Divine Theater at Gateway City Arts
“Frederick Law Olmsted: Bringing Nature to the City"
April 26, 2022 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, the master
designer of public parks and a founder of the field landscape architecture.
Join historian and filmmaker Laurence Cotton (originator of and consulting producer to the PBS special “Frederick
Law Olmsted: Designing America” as he does a deep dive into the remarkable life and career of
the Renaissance-man Olmsted--writer, philosopher, social reformer, advocate for the
preservation of natural scenery, and creator of some of the most beautiful public and private
parks and gardens in all of N. America. Laurence will also give a visual tour of representative
masterful landscapes designed by Olmsted, Senior, as well as his two sons and the Olmsted
Bros. landscape architecture firm, as the footprint of their works literally stretch across the
entire continent of N. America.
Additionally, Laurence will offer an additional tour of select
Olmsted landscapes in the Hartford area, in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts (where he
attended college), and in central Massachusetts.
Laurence Cotton, currently based in Portland, Oregon, a city that benefits from an Olmsted-
master planned park system, originally hails from Boston, renowned for its Olmsted landscapes
and the home base for generations of landscape design practitioners working for the Olmsted
Bros. firm. A practicing public historian, and writer/producer of historical films for PBS, Mr.
Cotton was trained as a cultural anthropologist and brings that lens to bear on much of his
work. He has worked with the tribal populations on throughout the Columbia River watershed
and has also worked on open space acquisition and the designs of parks and trails in Pacific
Northwest. He also brings training as an interpretive naturalist, and he is a birder and a