The Arnold Fortune: How Whale Money Bought Trees on Boston’s Emerald Necklace
If I was a berry-eating robin, I’d be tempted to live at the Arnold Arboretum year-round.Snow storms be damned!Bird food is abundant in this 281 acre museum of trees located just 5 miles from the Boston Common.There are treats there for us humans, too, mostly in the form of eye candy.Frederick Law Olmsted laid out the arboretum as a part of Boston’s “Emerald Necklace” park system 20 years after he and Calvert Vaux designed New York’s Central Park.The pleasant curvilinear pathways provide a boundless variety of unexpected views as you stroll the trails.
Funding for Harvard’s purchase of the land came from James Arnold, who made his living from the ocean.Arnold was a whaling magnate from New Bedford, who gave $100K to Harvard in his will for the establishment of an arboretum in 1868.Charles Sprague Sargent was the first director of the Arboretum, serving until his death in the year after Route 1 was established (1927/1926).Sargent and Olmsted worked together on the design of the road and trail system.
The original Route 1 passed by the entrance gate of Arnold Arboretum, and continued up the 7 mile long “Emerald Necklace” on its way to Storrow Drive and Memorial Drive on the banks of the Charles River.
But the Arboretum is not just a pretty place to visit.It is a repository of plant specimens that is recognized as an important resource around the world.Since inception, the Arboretum has helped to explore. catalog, and research plants worldwide, augmenting our understanding of botany.Even this Yale man gives Harvard a hearty huzzah for running this place!
The Arnold Arboretum is not an ivory tower kind of place, either.It is open to the public without cost and is co-managed with the City of Boston, which annexed Jamaica Plain (West Roxbury) in 1873.Its entrances open directly onto residential streets in the Roslindale and Stonybrook neighborhoods.They offer walking tours in English and Spanish on weekends and host family-oriented activities in the Arboretum in fair weather.
In short, Arnold Arboretum is an idyllic place for families, dog walkers, lovers, nature enthusiasts, runners, bicyclists, birders and photographers to enjoy a few hours in the beautiful outdoors.
Peter Evans MA Boston Oct 10, 2023 Museums Nature Parks
Location: Boston, MA
Peter Evans Oct 10, 2023
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