WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT
Tucked away on the South Shore of Staten Island is a forgotten and abandoned landmark in desperate need of attention. The Frederick Law Olmsted Farmhouse, presently known as the Olmsted-Beil House served as the early Staten Island residence of the eminent landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted from 1848 until 1854. Olmsted’s work here greatly influenced his later landscape designs of Central and Prospect Parks in New York City and other parks across the country.
Alerted to its severely neglected condition last summer, the New York Landmarks Conservancy led a national campaign to sound the alarm about this endangered landmark and paid for an updated Conditions Assessment Report, which showed that it would cost $153,400 to stabilize the house.
Notable Parks advocates have joined the Conservancy in forming the Reclaim Olmsted House Committee and endorse our campaign including:
- Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, President, Foundation for Landscape Studies; Founder, Central Park Conservancy
- Charles Birnbaum, President, Cultural Landmarks Foundation
- Sue Donoghue, President and Administrator, Prospect Park
- Gordon J. Davis, former New York City Parks Commissioner
- Lynden Miller, public garden designer
- Adrian Benepe, former New York City Parks Commissioner
- Tupper Thomas, Founding President, Prospect Park Alliance
- Kenneth Jackson, historian
- Ric Burns, documentary film maker
- Bernadette Castro, former New York State Parks Commissioner
- Kent Barwick, historic preservationist
- Janice Monger, President & CEO, Staten Island Museum
- Richard Moylan, President, Green-Wood Cemetery
- Michael van Valkenburg, landscape architect
- NYC Historic House Trust
- Ethan Carr, Professor, Landscape Architecture; editor, 8th volume Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted
- Victoria Cerullo, Bloomberg LP
- Gail Wittwer-Laird, RLA, Senior Associate at Starr Whitehouse
- Justin Martin, author, Genius of Place
- Untapped Cities
- Peter Duchin, musician
WHAT WILL YOUR CONTRIBUTION SUPPORT
For the first phase of this project, the Conservancy is seeking to raise $16,000 to immediately fund the temporary stabilization of the first floor, repair broken windows, and repaint the exterior wood siding of the house. Completing this stabilization is the necessary first step so that the house and grounds can be turned into an environmental and educational center on landscape architecture today.
This Kickstarter campaign is the catalyst to stabilize the landmark so that ultimately NYC Parks and a local community group can complete the restoration and adapt the building for use as an education center.
The New York Landmarks Conservancy preserves, revitalizes, and reuses architecturally significant buildings in New York City and State through a range of advocacy, financial, and technical assistance programs. We want New York's incredible collection of historically and culturally significant buildings, streetscapes, and neighborhoods to be used, appreciated, and enjoyed by all who live in, work in, and visit New York.
The Conservancy has a great record of achievement. Since its founding in 1973, the Conservancy has invested over $50 million in New York’s neighborhoods which in turn has revitalized communities and supported local jobs. No other private organization is engaged in such a hands-on way in sustaining the heritage and physical fabric of the City.
Prior campaigns include initiatives that saved the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, now the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian on Bowling Green; the Fraunces Tavern block in Lower Manhattan; the Survivor’s Staircase at Ground Zero; the public rooms of the Plaza Hotel; and the Federal Archive Building in Greenwich Village.
All Donors will be listed on an “Honor Roll” on the Conservancy’s website and in the Annual Report. In addition, supporters at the following levels will receive these gifts with our thanks!
Risks and challenges
Reclaiming Olmsted House is not part of the Conservancy's annual budget but we recognize the importance of restoring this landmark site so that it can eventually offer programs to New Yorkers and visitors alike. We are working with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and a newly activated Friends group on Staten Island, but we need you to join us to save this national treasure.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)