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Riverside, Illinois

The Village of Riverside, Illinois is a National Historic Landmark for landscape architecture designed by recognized masters Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. and Calvert Vaux. Located near Chicago , this suburban residential community was planned by the landscape architecture firm of Olmsted, Vaux and Company in 1868-69. Riverside is located along the Des Plaines River , and about 44% of the land is made up of pubic open space. Riverside 's historic character, spatial organization and land use patterns are clearly evident in its varied open spaces, including commons, parks, triangles and peninsulas, system of roads, sidewalks, gas streetlights and variable setbacks. As Olmsted and Vaux acknowledged that they could not "control the houses that men shall built," they turned to a comprehensive design of curvilinear road systems, lushly planted public right-of-ways, and generous building setbacks, which reduced the visual prominence of individual buildings and gave greater importance to the landscape setting. Today, Riverside is a distinguished example of landscape architectural design excellence, with the character and details of the landscape planned from 1868 to 1869 and initially implemented from 1870 to 1898 remaining discernible and vibrant with a high degree of integrity.

Heritage Landscapes developed a National Historic Landmark amendment for Riverside . A review of historic information, mapping and existing conditions formed the basis of understanding for the site. The landscape history, design intent, and as-built character and features were investigated and documented. Contributing and non-contributing resources were enumerated and described, and the integrity of the site was investigated. Heritage Landscapes reviewed the boundary of the National Historic Landmark, and recommended its expansion from 1,130 acres to 1,176. The additional 46 acres includes a residential area with house lots and streets arranged along the railroad corridor as originally planned by Olmsted, Vaux and Company. An illustrated narrative integrating these parts, and focusing on the significance of the Village of Riverside was the product of this project. The clients are using this document to work towards an amendment to the Riverside Landscape Architectural District National Historic Landmark.

Midwest Region, National Park Service, Village of Riverside, Illinois

Riverside Landscape Architectural District National Historic Landmark Amendment, 2002-2004

Project Credits:
Heritage Landscapes, Preservation Landscape Architects & Planners, Charles Beveridge, Olmsted Historian