Friends of Olmsted-Beil House Hosts Visit
by Preeminent Olmsted Scholars
On Sunday, October 3, 2021, the Friends of Olmsted-Beil House hosted a visit to Olmsted-Beil House Park by preeminent Frederick Law Olmsted scholars Charles E. Beveridge, PhD, and Faye Harwell, FASLA, RLA. Dr. Beveridge is Series Editor of the Frederick Law Olmsted Papers, an ardent supporter of the preservation of Olmsted landscapes, and one of the founders of the National Association for Olmsted Parks. Ms. Harwell is an award-winning landscape architect and co-founder of the Rhodeside & Harwell landscape architecture and planning firm.
FOBH President Eileen Monreale and FOBH Board members Tina Kaasmann-Dunn, Jeffrey A. Tandul, and Sean Ryan provided a tour of the park grounds, which were home to Olmsted’s Tosomock Farm when he lived there 1848-1855. They studied the exterior of the house and stopped at each of the Great Trees planted by Olmsted: black walnut, cedar of Lebanon, ginkgo, horse chestnut, and several Osage orange. Dr. Beveridge shared his great knowledge of the discussions, often of farming and technique, that Olmsted, his brother John Hull Olmsted, and their friend Charles Brace, had, many of which took place on the porch of, and at the beach in front of, the house at Tosomock.
Next on the tour was the adjoining Kaasmann property, once part of the Olmsted property, where Ms. Kaasmann-Dunn shared her memories of growing up there.
The final stop on the tour was Eltingville Beach on Raritan Bay, formerly the southernmost part of Olmsted’s property. Ms. Kaasmann-Dunn pointed out the remnants of a pier that Olmsted may have used when he lived at Tosomock. They admired the view of the boats at nearby Great Kills Harbor and remarked on the close proximity of the beach to Manhattan.
FOBH was honored to host Dr. Beveridge and Ms. Harwell to add to their extensive knowledge of Olmsted’s legacy and to experience firsthand the enchanting Tosomock Farm that played a transformative role in the development of Olmsted’s career in landscape architecture.