“Olmsted City” a new program of the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica, has begun a series of initiatives to restore Utica’s historic FT Proctor Park and to raise awareness about the city’s significant “Olmsted Footprint.”

Frederick Olmsted, Sr. co-designed Central Park in New York City and his son, Frederick Olmsted, Jr. designed Utica’s parks and parkway system.

Olmsted City Committee Chair Phil Bean says Utica is the smallest city in the country to have an Olmsted parks and parkway system.

Proctor Park about 70 percent the size of Central Park and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"In addition to a relatively large Olmsted parks and parkway system, Utica is also home to 5 neighborhoods that were also designed by Olmsted Brothers, and there’s one also in New Hartford,” said Bean.

In fact, about one tenth of Utica’s land mass was designed by Olmsted Brothers. But Bean says as in so many other places, Utica’s Olmsted parks and parkway system fell into neglect in the late twentieth century.

Olmsted City will carry out the following restoration projects at F.T. Proctor Park this year, while continuing to maintain existing beds in the park:

  • Restore the long-damaged base of a historic stone staircase near the Lily Pond by replacing a basin that catches spring water, installing a drain to carry that water off, and repaving the patio at the base of the staircase.
  • Continue opening up views at the north end of the ravine, create a decorative bed of perennials, and plant two flowering trees.
  • Create a “peace garden” centered on the recently-restored historic cistern in the lower level of the park that will include indigenous plants, five trees, and two benches.
  • Plant hundreds of flowers, decorative grasses, shrubs, and trees on the site of an original but long-abandoned feature of the park, a carriage circle on the park’s north side and install benches

"Olmsted City" is a program of the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Utica’s historic architecture since 1974.

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