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OnAugust 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 40 national parks and monuments then in existence and those yet to be established.
This "Organic Act" of August 25, 1916, states that "the Service thus established shall promote and regulate the use of Federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations . . . by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
The National Park Service still strives to meet those original goals, while filling many other roles as well: guardian of our diverse cultural and recreational resources; environmental advocate; world leader in the parks and preservation community; and pioneer in the drive to protect America's open space.
Olmsted National Historic Site is one of 401 National Park sites across the world. On October 12, 1979, Congress passed Public Law 96-87 which established the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, "...in order to preserve and interpret for the benefit, inspiration and education of present and future generations, the home and office of Frederick Law Olmsted, the great American landscape architect and designer." This act authorized the purchase of Olmsted's home and office in Brookline, Massachusetts, as well as the purchase of the archival collection stored on the site.
Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) is recognized as the founder of American landscape architecture and the nation's foremost parkmaker. Olmsted moved his home to suburban Boston in 1883 and established the world's first full-scale professional office for the practice of landscape design. During the next century, his sons and successors perpetuated Olmsted's design ideals, philosophy, and influence.
Today, Olmsted's home and office, which he named Fairsted, are protected and cared for by the National Park Service. Olmsted NHS is comprised of the restored landscape, historic design office, and original farmhouse, home to self-guided exhibits.
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