Lonely Planet Writer

How you can help save the abandoned home of the architect of Central Park

Landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, is best known for designing Central Park and Prospect Park, and a campaign is currently running to save and restore his abandoned home on Staten Island. Designated as a New York City landmark, the New York Landmark Conservancy has been leading a Kickstarter campaign to save the house Olmsted lived in from 1848 to 1854.

A campaign is running to save the abandoned home in Staten Island of the Central Park architect. Image: New York Landmark Conservancy

Alerted to its severely neglected condition last summer, the Conservancy commissioned a report that shows that it will cost $153,400 (€134,332) to stabilise the house, presently known as the Olmsted-Beil House. For the first phase of the project, it is seeking to immediately fund the temporary stabilisation of the first floor, repair broken windows, and repaint the exterior wood siding of the house at a cost of $16,000 (€14,011).

Frederick Law Olmsted lived in his Staten Island home in the 1800s. Image: New York Landmark Conservancy

Completing this stabilisation is the necessary first step so that the house and grounds can be turned into an environmental and educational centre on landscape architecture today. “We recognise the importance of restoring this landmark site so that it can eventually offer programs to New Yorkers and visitors alike,” says the Conservancy. It also hopes to raise an additional $4000 (€3502) to hire a consultant to do mortar analysis in preparation for repointing the masonry.

It is hoped that the house and grounds can be turned into an environmental and educational centre on landscape architecture. Image: New York Landmark Conservancy

The farmhouse is the last bit remaining of the original 125-acre farm purchased for Olmsted by his father. It dates in part to 1720 and has has been owned by the city since 2006. It is believed that Olmsted and Calvert Vaux may have completed their winning competition design for Central Park at the house. The Conservancy hopes the home can ultimately be transformed into an environmental and educational centre on landscape architecture today.

A Kickstarter campaign aims to save the house Frederick Law Olmsted lived in from 1848 to 1854. Image: New York Landmark Conservancy

You can check out the Kickstarter campaign here.