Arthur Shurtleff

Urban planner, Deceased Person

1870 – 1957


Who was Arthur Shurtleff?

Arthur Asahel Shurtleff was a landscape architect and urban planner. Shurtleff grew up in Boston. He graduated in mechanical engineering from M.I.T. in 1894, and from Harvard University in 1896. For eight years he worked in the Brookline, Massachusetts office of the Olmsted firm of landscape architects, and during that time helped Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. establish America's first four-year program in the field at Harvard in 1899. In his own practice that he began in 1904 he specialized in city planning work, certainly one of the earliest to do so in the United States.

His studies of the Boston area were carried out for the Boston Metropolitan Improvement Commission and the Massachusetts State Highway Commission as well as for several towns in the vicinity. It is from a longer section in the 1907 report of the Imaprovement Commission that the article below is drawn. Shurtleff also presented another abbreviated version of his longer study before the Fourth National Conference on City Planning, held in Boston in 1912. He then gave it the title "The Public Street Systems of the Cities and Towns About Boston in Relation to Private Street Schemes."

Shurtleff also prepared several campus plans, including those for Amherst and Wellesley Colleges and Brown University and for Deerfield, St. Paul's, and Groton among preparatory schools. In 1928 he became Chief Landscape Architect in the restoration of Williamsburg, Virginia, serving until 1941. Later he planned the outdoor museum of Old Sturbridge Village in central Massachusetts.

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  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

on July 23, 2013


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