Edgar C. Conkling

Buffalo Heritage Press

Frederick Law Olmsted’s Point Chautauqua: The Story of an Historic Lakeside Community

Edgar Conkling’s enchantment with Point Chautauqua began the moment that he came upon this picturesque lakeside community in the autumn of 1975. Though he did not know it then, this was precisely 100 years from the time of its creation by that most celebrated of landscape architects, Frederick Law Olmsted. During the quarter-century since taking up residence in one of the oldest houses in the settlement, he grew to know and appreciate the historic worth of the Olmsted heritage—and also to become increasingly anxious about its vulnerability.

With advanced degrees in economic geography from Northwestern University and sociology from the University of Chicago, Professor Conkling taught in a graduate program at the State University of New York at Buffalo that prepares students for careers in international business. In addition, he wrote a number of books and articles in the subject area and edited two professional journals.

Since retiring in 1989 to live year-round at Point Chautauqua, he has continued to write in his professional field, but increasingly he has turned his attention to issues of historical preservation. As founding members of the Point Chautauqua Historical Preservation Society, Edgar Conkling his wife, Helen, and like-minded neighbors have worked to ensure the permanence of their community’s historically important Olmsted design.

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