WellesleyWeston Magazine

SPRING 2017

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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slums. These unhealthy conditions are largely produced by human action or inaction…making the [inhabitants] more unhealthy and vul- nerable to attacks of disease." In fact, adding bucolic elements was only one of the objectives in creating Fuller Brook Park. The other was to improve the unpredictable drainage of the Fuller Brook and its vexing potential to flood. "Some of the earliest work back in the 1900s was excavating the brook deeper," says Peter Jackson, the town's project manager for the Fuller Brook Improvement Project. "They lowered the elevation of the water two to three feet, thereby lowering the water table so all of the land itself and the adjacent residences became drier and more usable." In a talk on the project given this past November, Jackson noted, "In March of 1899, the commissioners presented their plan to the town to acquire land along Fuller Brook for parkway and drainage purposes and for the future development of a sewer system. The estimated cost of the project was $40,000 for acquisition and development and $3,000 a year for maintenance." Construction of the path began right away, and thus began the Town's stewardship of the park that over the decades has shifted between benign neglect and blatant over-engineering. Because of the tension between the twin objectives of the parkland, functionality and beauty, well-intentioned tinkering began to erode them both. "Fuller Brook is the second largest watershed in the town as far as area goes," notes Dave Hickey, the town engineer for the Department of Public Works, which was given responsibility for the construction oversight. "The two large watersheds drain nearly 70 per- cent of the town." As the population grew, the runoff and drainage became more severe. "Between fertilizers and animal waste, street runoff is not necessarily clean," he observes. "It ultimately ends up in the Charles River, and we don't want to add to that pollution." Back in the late 1950s, a plan was devised to improve drainage along the Fuller Brook. The resulting manhandling of the natural flow of the brook with concrete embankments (which also straightened out the natural meandering of the water) horrified many residents and even 60 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 7 Restoring Beauty P H O T O S C O U R T E S Y O F W E L L E S L E Y D P W / A E R I A L C O U R T E S Y O F B E T A G R O U P , I N C . B Y T H E E N D O F I T S F I R S T C E N T U R Y , I T W A S C L E A R T H A T T H E B R O O K P A T H N E E D E D S O M E T I M E , M O N E Y , A N D A T T E N T I O N . 2 Cold Spring Brook access near Hunnewell School 1 Reconstructed brook from Dover Road bridge 3 Beech tree in autumn near State Street Pond 1 2 3

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