12. Bayard Cutting Arboretum

Bayard Cutting Arboretum State park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted

Not many New Yorkers know about Olmsted’s design of Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park, a 691-acre state park in Great River, Long Island. The historic park on the South Shore was designed for William Bayard Cutting, a lawyer and sugar beet refiner who developed much of Red Hook in Brooklyn and operated New York City’s ferries. Cutting and his brother Fulton purchased over 900 acres from the nearby village of Oakdale in 1881, and Cutting commissioned architect Charles C. Haight to design the Westbrook manor mansion house in the Tudor Revival style on the property. Their grandfather Robert Cutting was the partner of Robert Fulton, widely credited with developing the first commercially successful steamboat.

In 1887, toward the end of his career, Frederick Law Olmsted helped develop the grounds of the home, protecting much of the area’s wildlife. The brothers built a golf course on the property, the first private golf course in the United States. After an 1895 fire, a cedar log hunting lodge was built on the property, where Cutting often spent his time before his 1912 death. Much of Olmsted’s original design is preserved today at the state park, which officially opened to the public on May 15, 1954. Extensions were made to roads and hiking paths, and more parking spaces were added to accommodate larger crowds.