On Our Campus

























Our 80 acres of beautiful grounds and woodlands welcome our guests. Many visitors walk the grounds and experience the tranquility and beauty that is such a part of our great history. The grounds were designed by the Olmstead Brothers.

Our beautiful grounds


In March of 1932 a letter was written to Father Griffin, Rector at St. Thomas Seminary, with landscape print enclosures of lists of trees and other plants for the seminary grounds. The letter was signed by the Olmstead Brothers of Brookline, MA. Excerpts from the letter explained, "This plan [has] been studied for the ultimate effect…" "Along the drives we have used elms and maples with oaks and beeches north and east of the main building. Pines and some spruces are arranged in groups..." "Around the seminary building we have used the larger size of trees..." "The sizes of the trees have been chosen to be neither extravagantly large nor too small for a fairly good immediate effect."

Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr., born on Staten Island, New York, in 1890, earned his Bachelor's degree at Harvard graduating magna cum laude. He studied landscape architecture under his renowned father, Frederick Law Olmstead, Sr., (born in Hartford, CT), who was responsible for New York City's Central Park and other noted places during a time in America's history when 19th century cities across the nation underwent tremendous changes. Olmstead, Sr. became a champion of the City Beautiful movement. He was the leading landscape artist of the post-Civil War generation, and has long been acknowledged as the founder of American landscape architecture.

From his earliest years, young Olmstead was aware of his father's fervent obsession to have him carry on both the family name and profession. He began his career as an assistant with his father's firm in 1895 in Brookline, MA. This firm became the leading landscape architecture firm in American, completing thousands of landscape projects over the next half-century.

Among other causes, Olmstead, Jr. worked on many prominent Washington landmarks and had a lifetime commitment to preserving the quality of the community parks. He worked on projects in Acadia, Everglades and Yosemite. Olmstead Jr. framed the mission statement in the 1916 National Park Service Act "to conserve the scenery and...natural and historic objects and .. wild life to provide...by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." His father had impressed upon him the duty to protect and perpetuate whatever of beauty and inspirational value that was inherent in the landscape in any creative design.

St. Thomas Seminary General Planting Plan no. 7801 to accompany plan no. 64 included American Elm; Red and Pin Oak; Sugar Maple, Japanese and Chinese Flowering Crab, Saucer Magnolia; Norway Spruce; European, Fleshy, Washington and Thicket Hawthorne; European Beech; Flowering Dogwood; Douglas Fir; Austrian and Scotch Pine; Chinese Lilac; Japanese Barberry and others. A collection of additional numbered plan studies of the Saint Thomas Seminary's landscape design are housed in the archives at the Library of Congress.

Over the years many trees that were originally part of the Saint Thomas Seminary landscape have died or have been demolished due to the ravages of storms, disease and other factors. It is our wish to begin replacing some of the trees to restore and enhance the beautiful grounds. As the 85th anniversary of Saint Thomas Seminary approaches those who would like to donate funds for the replacement of a tree in honor of or in memory of a loved one please contact: Paul Connery pconnery@stseminary.org



Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary • Archdiocese of Hartford
467 Bloomfield Ave. Bloomfield, Connecticut 06002
Phone:  860-242-5573 • Fax: 860-242-4886