Calvert Vaux

Frederick Law Olmsted

August Belmont

Andrew Green

Robert Moses

Thomas P.F. Hoving

Elizabeth Barlow Rogers

All text from:
The Park and the People

Click here for
more info.

As Central Park administrator throughout the 1980s (and beyond), Rogers joined Calvert Vaux, Frederick Law Olmsted, Andrew Green, and Robert Moses as one of the five most influential figures in the park's history. She herself identified most strongly with Olmsted, at times referring to him as "Saint Olmsted." Although Rogers also acknowledged Moses' legacy, a reporter noted, "She speaks reverentially about the designs of Olmsted, more grudgingly about those of Moses." [Ch1815] Rogers's devotion to Olmsted reflected, in part, her own training in art history at Wellesley and in city planning at Yale. Unlike some early twentieth-century park preservationists, she had not grown up near the park. Indeed, her first visit to New York from her native Texas did not come until 1950, when she was fourteen; she and her mother stayed at the Plaza Hotel and never walked across the street into Central Park. But after Rogers moved to New York in 1964, she developed a passionate devotion to the parks of her adopted city -- an interest she explored in her first book, The Forests and Wetlands of New York City, and in her work with the Parks Council, the successor to the Park Association of New York. A Times reporter described her as "not the archetypical public servant" but possessing the "tastes and social graces more frequently associated with Park Avenue than with City Hall." She proved unusually adept at raising enormous sums of money for the park and in administering those funds to impress her own vision on it. [Ch1816]