Olmsted Brothers Vision for Wyman and the Stony Run Stream Valley

Wyman Park and the Stony Run Stream valley demonstrate the premier design work of the Olmsted Brothers from 1903 to 1947. The influential landscape architecture firm was established in 1898 by brothers John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., sons of the eminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The Municipal Art Society hired them to produce the City’s first comprehensive park system plan in 1904, the Development of Public Grounds for Greater Baltimore Report. The Wyman family had donated land for Johns Hopkins University in 1902 for use as a northern campus and that same year, the University gave the remainder of the land to the City of Baltimore to serve as a public park.

In the 1904 Report, the Olmsted Brothers identified Wyman Park, with its old beech trees and bold topography, as one of the finest single passages of scenery to be so near a large city and advocated for it to become a stream valley reserve and extended north and south Bookending the University to the southeast and fitting into the City grid is the intact Wyman Park Dell, a 16-acre public park noted for its steep enclosing slopes and a large, sweeping lower lawn, fully realized and conceived by the Olmsted Brothers.

The presentation will focus on their vision and what remains today from Stony Run’s headwaters at the city’s northern border to where the stream joins the Jones Falls River to the south. In addition to the Baltimore Architecture Foundation (BAF) and Baltimore Heritage, Inc., this Virtual History is co-sponsored by the Friends of Maryland’s Olmsted Parks & Landscapes (FMOPL) and the Maryland Society of Landscape Architects.

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