In York-area, famous Olmsted design firm left legacy in Wyndham Hills

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York city and environs is seen from the air in this York Daily Record/Sunday New file photo. The dark section, upper left, is Wyndham Hills. Penn Park is at bottom left. The noted Olmsted landscape design firm laid out Wyndham Hills. (See links to other York-area aerial photos below.) Also of interest: 11 designs highlight upcoming Historic York’s ‘Discovering Dempwolf’ house tour and Jeremiah Sullivan Black among York County politicos holding high office and Reader doesn’t understand some things about York County.

The recent York Town Square post about Frederick Law Olmsted’s design of Vandergrift, Pa., serves as a reminder that his landscape design family and firm – designers of New York’s Central Park – touched York, Pa.
Specifically, the area now called Wyndham Hills in Spring Garden Township.
Georg Sheets discussed the Olmsted-York link in his “Facts and Folklore:”


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The homes in Wyndham Hills are prime spots for fundraising tours, such as this about the benefit the York Twinning Association in 2008.
Jeremiah Sullivan Black, former U.S. attorney general, built “Rural Felicity” in the hills south of York, sometimes called Webb’s Hill.
His estate took on the name of Brockie and later became known as Wyndham after its purchase by Susan Smith, of the S. Morgan Smith family, and Cary E. Etnier.
The estate became home of the Etniers’ two children, Stephen, a noted artist, and Virginia, who married Vice-Admiral Charles F. Chillingsworth.
About 1930, developers contracted with the Olmsted firm to design a residential community.
“Homes were nestled among mature trees and quiet streams and set on hills that provided sweeping viewers. French peonies, rhododendrons and hollies were planted as cottages, manses and mansions were added,” Sheets wrote.
Today, Wyndham Hills is nestled between a growing York College to the north, new McMansions to the south and the gated Regent’s Glen community to the west.
But its setting remains beautiful and its varied architectural styles have kept its status as one of the most desirable York-area communities.
Other posts with aerial views:
Just try to resist studying this memory-tugging photograph
Just try to resist studying this memory-tugging Sears photograph, Part II
Just try to resist this memory-tugging photo of North York’s White Oak Park
Just try to resist this memory-tugging aerial photograph of York Whitehull Airport and York Valley Inn and Playland and …
So, can you find long-gone Springwood Park in this aerial photograph?
Camp Security area of Springettsbury Township from the air
Columbia-Wrightsville Susquehanna River bridges from the air.
Just try to resist this memory-tugging photograph of northwest York, Pa.
Just try to resist this memory-tugging aerial photograph of York’s Roosevelt Avenue Airport.
Memorial Stadium, now Bob Hoffman Stadium, built to keep professional baseball in York.
In York-area, famous Olmsted design firm left legacy in Wyndham Hills.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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One Response to In York-area, famous Olmsted design firm left legacy in Wyndham Hills

  1. terrence downs says:

    Frederick Law Olmstead’s work also marks new annexation of Prospect Hill Cemetery, lands adjacent to North York Borough just before the 20th Century. Olmstead’s planting scheme surrounds the mausoleum and several Family burial Circles, including the S. Morgan Smith monument on such a circle. Recall Beauchamp Smith, grandson to S. Morgan Smith and at that time on the Board at Allis-Chalmers York, successor to S.M. Smith Company. Beauchamp’s lovely Tudoresque Estate still stands along Country Club Road and was a magnificent manse. The compact Estate also accommodated a greenhouse, which when his wife Josephine (Jo) Smith was living, would raise and bring flowers from these greenhouse(s) to adorn the sanctuary at York First Moravian Church. Additionally, my godmother was Susan Ellen Gray Rishel, a great-grandaughter to Rev. S.M. Smith, and she recollected of her earlier years to when ‘Beechie’ and his brothers would plan picnics on what is yet known by Yorkers as the Crows’ Nest – which is the highest point which views York City at north, clear to beyond Pigeon Hills and is a most awesome vista.

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