LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It all starts with a seed - a seed of hope, of passion, of courage. On Friday, April 26 the Frazier History Museum will celebrate the 197th birthday of a man who planted a lot of seeds in Louisville: Frederick Law Olmsted.
Olmsted is known for creating and preserving some of the nation's most beloved parks. Central Park in New York City and Yosemite may not be as grand as they are today without Olmsted's influence. In Louisville, Olmsted built one of his grandest plans: a system of 18 city parks and six tree-lined parkways that connect them.
Louisville's Olmsted Park System extends across the city, from Chickasaw Park and Southwestern Parkway in the west to Seneca Park in the east.
"His handprint really is all over Louisville," said Rachel Platt, Director of Community Engagement at the Frazier History Museum. "Olmsted believed that everybody, no matter where you lived, should have a taste of nature."
To celebrate Olmsted's birthday, 30 years of the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, and Arbor Day, the Frazier History Museum will hold a grand celebration on Friday. Guests at the Frazier will be treated to cake, hot dogs, and a live band from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. as they explore the museum's Olmsted Parks exhibit. The exhibit explores the history of Louisville's park system. It features Olmsted's original plans and maps of some of the city's most notable locations.
Conservation was also one of Olmsted's passions. The Olmsted Parks Conservancy was created in 1989 to restore, enhance, and preserve these historic parks. The member-supported non-profit works with Louisville Metro Parks to provide planning and funding for park improvements.
As part of the celebration, the museum will be giving out 197 free trees to continue Olmsted's legacy. Guests will have a choice between two spring flowering trees, Red Bud and Service Berry, and the Tulip Poplar, Kentucky's state tree.
"We're losing trees at a very alarming rate in Jefferson County," said Cindy Sullivan, the Executive Director of TreesLouisville. The hope is that these trees will help rebuild Lousiville's tree canopy one tree at a time.
Sullivan said that the trees will go quickly, so arrive at the museum early if you'd like to pick one up.
During the Olmsted Parks event, you are encouraged to share your favorite memories of the city's parks by using #OlmstedParks502 and #OlmstedsLouisville on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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