“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Newport in Newport County, Rhode Island — The American Northeast (New England)

The Frederick Law Olmsted Park

The Frederick Law Olmsted Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, September 14, 2012
1. The Frederick Law Olmsted Park Marker
Stoneacre, these three acres opposite Vernon Court on Bellevue Avenue (American’s most elegant street), are named for the mansion designed in 1884, by architect William Potter for John W, Ellis, which once occupied this site. Potter recommended Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) to his client as “a garden designer.” Stoneacre became Olmsted’s first commission after he named the new profession “landscape architecture.” The Stoneacre mansion was demolished in 1963 and the grounds lay dormant for decades thereafter, it is the last privately held open space on Bellevue Avenue. Stoneacre was purchased in 1998, by Judy and Laurence Cutler with the visitor to create a memorial park honoring Frederick Law Olmsted, America’s first and most noted landscape architect.

For this site, Olmsted conceived of a “parklike setting” with a variety of exotic trees to protect the Ellis family from viewers. Stoneacre was furnished with native and exotic trees including London Plane, Fern Leaf Beech, Japanese Maple, Zelkova, European Linden, English Oak, and Tulip Trees, as well as Silver Maple, Cucumber, and Sweet

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Gums. Manmade earthen forms and contours were designed to give a rolling perspective and a more interesting perspective to the overall site which has been flat prior to Olmsted’s designs.

Lucius D. Davis opined on Stoneacre in Gardens and Gardening (Dec. 1895),”The design was almost wholly for park effects and it was pretty thoroughly carried into execution.” In 1980, Richard Champlin in Newport History, (‘Newport Estates and their Flora’) also commented on the parklike design. “To surround his Bellevue Avenue villa, John Ellis aimed at creating a park furnished with trees both native and exotic…a notable specimen of Cucumber tree stands near Bellevue Avenue …thus subdued member if the magnolia clan puts forth dozens of bluish greenish blossoms from top to bottom…Not so the evergreen equidistant from Bellevue which strikes the eye with a startling contrast in needles, dark, glossy, blue-green above and gleamingly silver-white beneath. This Yeddo Spruce (Picea jezoensis) hails from Japan. Viewed in full sunlight, it displays the contrasting hues on a grand scale up and down its height. Along the Victoria Avenue bound…grow trees with special significance in Rhode Island. Also from Japan, these Zelkovas first came to this country through the efforts of a Bristol physician, Dr. George Hall, who practiced in Japan during the early part of the nineteenth century…”

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It is said that these Zelkovas are the oldest extant and the largest examples in the United States.

Olmsted designed the nation's most beloved parks and grounds including New York’s Central Park, the United States Capitol, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, The Biltimore, Winterhur, Detroit’s Belle Isle, Boston’s Franklin Park, Newport’s Master Plan, and many estate grounds. He conceived of Boston’s first park system-The Fenway, known as “the Emerald Necklace.” Olmsted’s office went on to create the National Park System and designed a plethora of campus plans including Stanford University. Frederick Law Olmsted was a social activist and reformer, an artist and engineer and a man of epic vision. His work during the thirty years following the Civil War, created an American landscape which is enjoyed today and forevermore. Judy and Laurence Cutler, founders of the National Museum of American Illustration at Vernon Court, honor Olmsted’s legacy with his design for a small private park as a perpetual memorial to American’s first landscape architect, The Frederick Law Olmsted Park.

South-East View of Olmsted Park from Bellevue Avenue
Western View of Park along Victoria Avenue
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureEnvironmentHorticulture & Forestry.
Location. 41° 28.089′ N, 71° 18.319′ W. Marker is in Newport, Rhode Island, in Newport County. Marker is on Ruggles Avenue near Bellevue and Ruggles Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Newport RI 02840, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Rosecliff & Its Neighbors: Fading Glamour & Modern Revival (approx. 0.2 miles away); Chateau-sur-Mer & Its Neighbors: A Victorian District Preserved (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Breakers (approx. 0.4 miles away); J. Joseph M. Martin (approx. half a mile away); Rovensky Park & Its Neighbors: Open Space Preserved (approx. 0.6 miles away); Cliff Walk (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Elms & Its Neighbors: The Battle for Historic Preservation (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Isaac Bell House & Its Neighbors: Progressive Architecture (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newport.

Credits. This page was last revised on January 15, 2019. It was originally submitted on August 24, 2017, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 360 times since then and 18 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on August 24, 2017, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 1, 2024