WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 107 of 195

Open Spaces Esker Trail Town Forest preserve the river's natural beauty and provide public access for the enjoyment of all. The year 1899 in Wellesley saw the establishment of a Parks Commission to maintain its public spaces. The Fuller Brook Parkway development and beautification project began and, simultaneously, a state law was drawn up that required municipalities to have a tree warden. At the turn of the century, attitudes toward the benefits of outdoor recreation were strong and the lack of appropriate places for children to enjoy the outdoors became a concern. H. H. Hunnewell, prescient regarding childhood activities, stepped forward again and deeded over 20 acres to Wellesley for playing fields which later became Hunnewell Field. In Weston, it was again Charles W. Hubbard who came to the rescue, using his own funds to purchase 40 acres of land and build the Riverside Recreation Grounds which catered to all sorts of sports and leisure activities including a dance pavilion and a restaurant. In Pam Fox's well-documented history of Weston, Farm Town to Suburb, she states that "one of Hubbard's goals was for Riverside Recreation Grounds to become a place for athletic training, competitive meets and field days… [and] to function as a popular country club, offering social as well as sporting opportunities for young businessmen." The facility was donated in 1914 by Hubbard to the Metropolitan Park Commission, which operated it until 1958. Records in Wellesley during the first decades of the 20th century indicate many gifts of land and easements specifically for neighborhood beautification from foot paths along Fuller Brook and Caroline Brook to early parks like Elm. The Hunnewell family continued their generous donations of land, and by 1917 the Wellesley Parks Department had 55 acres of parkland along with responsibility for 75 acres of playgrounds. Recognizing the need for orderly development, a group of Weston citi- zens established a planning board and recruited Arthur A. Shurtleff (aka Shurcliff), a well-known landscape architect and urban planner who had worked under renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in his Brookline practice. Shurtleff was instrumental in devel- oping a master plan and his 1924 report, as noted in Farm Town to Suburb, stated that "landowners had proved eager to adopt zoning to remove the uncertainty of haphazard growth." Life hummed along through the 1930s and '40s, but, after World War II, a sharp increase in population and the accelerating development of 106 WellesleyWeston Magazine | summer 2012 BETH FURMAN ART DONAHUE

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