Best known for designing New York’s Central Park and other beautiful and accessible public green spaces in the latter half of the 19th century, Fredrick Law Olmsted created the field of landscape architecture. His legacy extends to Grove City College’s beautiful neo gothic campus.
This year marks the bicentennial of Olmsted’s birth, and the College is celebrating with an exhibit exploring the campus plan that was drawn up nearly a century ago by his heirs. “Grove City College, an Olmsted Campus: Blueprints for the Future” runs through Oct. 8 in the Pew Fine Arts Center gallery on campus.
The multimedia exhibit explores the history and beauty of campus and how it came to be through historical materials, photos, drawings, and more. It details how Grove City College and the Olmsted Brothers firm developed a plan for campus that has guided 100 years of growth.
Founded in 1876, Grove City College was initially centered east of the creek in the area now known as lower campus. By the turn of the 20th century, it was already outgrowing that space and in the 1920s, the College commissioned the Olmsted Brothers firm, made up of Olmsted’s sons, to draw up a master plan for upper campus.
Their quad-centered plan created a beauty and balance that was augmented by a series of collegiate gothic buildings designed and built by the New Castle, Pa., architectural firm of G.W. Eckles from the 1930s to the 1960s. Later additions hewed to the aesthetic and created a campus that is considered one of America’s most beautiful.
Curated by the College Archives, the exhibit features materials from the College’s collection, the Eckles firm, and the Olmsted Archives through the National Park Service.
The gallery is open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1 during Homecoming Weekend.