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The Frederick Law Olmsted Society of Riverside



The Frederick Law Olmsted Society is dedicated to sustaining Olmsted’s 1868 landscape design and vision for community life in Riverside, Illinois, America’s first planned suburb. The Olmsted Society fulfills its mission both through education and by assisting with the physical maintenance of Riverside’s National Landmark landscape.

Educational activities of the Olmsted Society include:

Walking Tours of Historic Riverside – Departing from Riverside’s Train Station, tours featuring either Riverside’s north or south side run monthly, May-October. Dates are posted at www.olmstedsociety.org or tours may be specially arranged. Discounts for seniors and Olmsted Society Members.

Olmsted Society Housewalk – Rare opportunity to experience the interiors and learn the history of select Riverside architectural gems. The Housewalk is the Olmsted Society’s primary fundraiser and is typically held the third Sunday in May, every other year. Please mark your calendar and come out to support the Society’s 2012 Housewalk.

This is the last that remains of the Henry Babson Estate. The Estate was 28 acres in the Northern part of Riverside with the main house and surrounding buildings designed by Louis Sullivan and the landscape executed by Jens Jensen. Unfortunately, the Estate was sold to developers in the late 1950's and the majority of the properties were leveled and replaced by 40 mid-century modern developments.

Olmsted Society Lectures - Free evening lectures at Riverside Township Hall on topics related to landscapes, the built environment, Olmsted and Riverside.

The Olmsted Collection at the Riverside Public Library – Providing nearly 1,000 volumes by and pertaining to Frederick Law Olmsted, as well as the ecology, landscape, architecture and history of Riverside.

Reflections on Riverside Student Poetry Contest – Annual contest seeking poetic reflections on Riverside’s natural areas. Entries are published in volumes for community enjoyment at the Riverside Public Library.



Landscape activities include:

Olmsted Society Work Days – Olmsted designed Riverside’s common areas to enable constantly changing pastoral vistas from both sidewalks and roadways. Join us Saturdays from 9-12 as we tame and maintain Riverside’s public parks. See www.olmstedsociety.org for workday calendar. Service credits available.

Financial support – The Olmsted Society contributes funds to the Village of Riverside for the purchase and protection of trees for Riverside’s public spaces and for special initiatives consistent with Olmsted’s vision. The Society has also been a major sponsor of the Riverside Brookfield Ecology Club in its efforts to restore Waubansee Preserve and Zoo Woods.

There are many ways to become involved with the Olmsted Society. We encourage you to attend an event that appeals to your interests and to get to know our enthusiastic and dedicated members . . . and learn more about Riverside in the process!
Photos provided by the Olmsted Society
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