Frederick Law Olmsted is America’s first and greatest landscape architect. He once said, “A park is a work of art, designed to produce certain effects upon the minds of men.” His system of parks and parkways in Buffalo is historic because it is the first of its kind in the nation and represents one of his largest bodies of work. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the System consists of six major parks, their connecting parkways and circles, and several smaller spaces. Today, it comprises 75% of the city’s parkland.
In the late 1800s, visionary citizens brought Olmsted to Buffalo. It was here that Olmsted, inspired by Joseph Ellicott’s radial street layout, designed his first system of parks and parkways, and proclaimed Buffalo to be “the best designed city in the country, if not the world.” During the 1901 Pan American Exposition, Buffalo was celebrated not only as the City of Light, but the City of Trees.