The parkway in America became a new kind of
public space. Though the parkway was a new kind of "space",the idea of a parkway goes back to the middle of the nineteenth century, long before automobiles
ever existed. Frederick Law Olmsted teamed up with Calvert Vaux to produce the incredible Central Park in New
York. Along with designing this actual park, Olmsted also provided a pattern for the urban park in
America, and designed and named the parkway.
Stanley Abbott must have been greatly influenced by Frederick Law Olmsted's ideas.
The principles that Frederick Law Olmsted demonstrated were the same ones involved in 19th Century
landscape painting and landscapes. Not only is Central Park an excellent example of these principles in use, but also works of landscape architecture like that surrounding the Biltmore House. The Parkway is a design achievement, which often goes unappreciated because the public is unaware of the 800-detailed pen on linen drawings. Each of these drawings are a testament to the Parkway as a design marvel.
The development of the
parkway, like Olmsted's Central Park, meant to serve a variety of purposes as a new American
"space". Abbott's work on the Blue Ridge Parkway provided a kind of respite for the viewer.
Stanley Abbott, the landscape architect and National
Park Service superintendent in charge of the Blue Ridge Parkway Project, actually re-defined the idea of a parkway in
America.Stanley Abbott's design for the Blue Ridge Parkway was much more than
simply a plan for the building of a road. Instead, Abbott designed a 469-mile long
park with a road stretching through it. His designs have been a dynamic force by affecting all "pleasure" roads in America
since the inception of the Blue Ridge Parkway(Newton, p.612).
Olmsted's understanding of these three different kinds of beautiful scenery came from English theorists. Beveridge and Rocheleau reiterate these English theories:
|| An example of a view from the Blue Ridge Parkway that aspires to the sublime can
be found at the Twenty-Minute Cliff Overlook(Blue Ridge Parkway, Location and Typical
Views Along Northern Section, Slide no. 6). One of the purposes of the scenery of
the Blue Ridge Parkway was originally intended to bring peace and respite to the
The intensity of the stresses of urban life and the artificial
qualities of the constructed city itself produced anxiety in the inhabitants.
The immersion in nature and her beauty could soothe this kind of man-made