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The Legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted and the Vanderbilt Mausoleum
Saturday, September 17, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
The massive Vanderbilt Mausoleum on Staten Island was built in 1885-1886 to overlook the farm of William H. Vanderbilt, which was located at the current site of Miller Field (part of Gateway National Recreation Area). The foremost architect, Richard Morris Hunt, and landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, of this time period were hired to build the mammoth mausoleum and lay out the grounds, respectively. Hunt had previously designed a number of structures for various members of the Vanderbilt family, including the 70-room Breakers Mansion and Marble House in Newport, RI, and Olmsted had designed Central Park and Prospect Park. In designing the Vanderbilt Cemetery grounds, Olmsted struggled with the massiveness of the mausoleum and the types of plantings that would highlight it, while not distracting the visitor’s eye. In this talk, discover how he contended with this issue and the rolling landscape that surrounded the mausoleum. In fact, some of the greatest challenges of Olmsted’s career were overcome while designing the landscape around this colossal tomb for the dead.
Speaker: Patricia M. Salmon, FOBH Historian and a Curator of History, retired, from the Staten Island Museum. A Staten Island resident for almost 50 years, Ms. Salmon has authored five books including Staten Island’s Brewery Barons; Realms of History: The Cemeteries of Staten Island; and The Staten Island Ferry: A History. She is on the Board of Directors of the Tottenville Historical Society, and is an adjunct lecturer at the College of Staten Island and a guest speaker at Wagner College.
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