In the next week, the village of Riverside will get down to the serious business of celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, the renowned landscape architect who is credited with designing the 1869 General Plan for Riverside, in addition to other landmark parks in Chicago and across North America.
The Frederick Law Olmsted Society will kick off the celebration a few days early on Saturday, April 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., which is planting day for the Olmsted Overlook – a small, curated grove of trees native to the Midwest – which the organization is gifting to the village Olmsted designed.
Planting volunteers are asked to meet at the overlook site, which is on the bluff overlooking Swan Pond Park in the 100 block of Fairbank Road, at 9 a.m.
Then on Olmsted’s birthday, Tuesday, April 26, there will be a couple of events celebrating the landscape master’s bicentennial.
From 4 to 6 p.m., the Riverside Historical Commission invites the community to join them at a “birthday party” at the downtown train station at 90 Bloomingbank Road. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.
Then at 7 p.m., all are invited to head across Guthrie Park to the Riverside Public Library, 1 Burling Road, where the Olmsted Society will present a museum-quality botanical box to the library, which will put it on public display.
The Olmsted 200 gift was created by Francisco Gonzalez and Shilin Hora using seeds collected during “seed hunts” organized by the Olmsted Society in 2021 and then artistically arranged over a reproduction of the 1869 General Plan for Riverside.
On display at both April 26 events will be a resolution passed earlier this month by the Illinois House of Representatives, declaring April 26, 2022 Frederick Law Olmsted Day in honor of his 200thbirthday.
The resolution was spearheaded by state Rep. Michael Zalewski, a Riverside resident who represents the 23rd District, and the Olmsted Society in concert with other Olmsted-friendly groups and people, including the Chicago Parks Foundation, the Chicago Friends of the Parks, Glessner House Museum, Preservation Chicago, Julia Bachrach Consulting and University of Chicago Professor W.J.T. Mitchell.