RUMSON, NJ – The man considered the father of great American landscape design has a Rumson connection. St. George’s-by-the-River Church will be hosting a lecture and formal tea on Saturday, May 14 to celebrate Frederick Law Olmsted’s life and share the story of how the Olmsted Brothers firm was commissioned to visit Rumson just before the turn of the 20th century.
Well-known local historian and longtime Rumson resident Roberta H. Van Anda will discuss The Frederick Law Olmsted firm and the Strong family: How America’s most famous landscaping company came to Rumson to design a country churchyard. Landscape plans, planting lists and fascinating correspondence provided the research for this discussion of how America’s foremost landscaping firm came to design the St. George’s-by-the-River churchyard in Rumson.
Frederick Law Olmsted famously designed America’s most beloved parks and landscapes of the past century- Central Park in NYC, the U.S. Capital grounds, the Biltmore estate, Stanford University and many others. A man of passionate vision and drive, he created America’s first park systems, urban greenways and suburban residential communities. Olmsted played an important role to create and preserve natural parks such Yosemite, Yellowstone and Niagara Falls. There has been renewed interest in Olmsted’s work and his aesthetic for using the restorative effects of natural scenery to counteract the hyperactive effects of modern cities. Cities across the country are making efforts to restore some of Olmsted’s original landscapes.
In 1896, Mr. and Mrs. William E. Strong spent their first summer at The Point, their new 170-acre estate which was located on the river in what is now Rumson. Within just a few years, the Strongs hired the Olmsted Brothers firm to provide landscaping plans and options for subdividing and selling pieces of the estate. The landscape work was extensive and elaborate with great quantities of plantings along with the creation of many structures. A few pieces of the property were sold, but the estate still contained 100 acres when Mr. Strong died a few years later in 1905. As a memorial to her husband, Alice C. Strong commissioned the New York architectural firm of Walker and Gillette to copy the village church of Mr. Strong’s English relatives and create it on property she purchased near the Sea Bright bridge. The Olmsted firm worked with the architects and designed the landscape and gardens. The result was the beautiful Episcopal church located between what is now Waterman and Packer Avenues.
Proceeds from the event will benefit St. George’s-by-the-River and the Olmsted Landscaping Fund.
The Olmsted Lecture and Tea Party May 14 2-4pm
St. George’s-by-the-River Episcopal Church, 7 Lincoln Avenue, Rumson, NJ 07760 – Ralph Hall – 732-842-0596
Seating is limited to 100 people. $25/ person
Advanced reservations and payment are encouraged. Walk-ins will be seated as available.
For online reservations: https://bit.ly/3ubtEXa
Checks can also be sent to St. George’s-by-the-River with Olmsted tea party on memo line