Houghton Garden Reopened
more than a year of work, Houghton Garden was officially reopened
in October. Present to celebrate this milestone were Rep. Ruth Balser,
who helped obtain state money for the project, Ald. Lisle Baker,
a longtime advocate for rehabilitating the Garden, Ald. Brian Yates
and Ald. Amy Sangiolo, Martha Horn, the city's Environmental Planner
who supervised the work, Helen Heyn, who helped acquire the property
for the city many years ago, and Nancy Avery, who headed the project
for the Chestnut Hill Garden Club.
"The Houghton Garden is an important historic
and natural resource which has now been restored and made wheelchair
accessible for all Newton citizens to enjoy," said Alderman Baker.
Houghton Garden is a ten-acre woodland garden,
originally constructed by Mr. and Mrs. Clement S. Houghton, who
built their home nearby in 1906. The Garden is listed on the National
Register of Historic Places and is located on the edge of both a
local and National Register Historic District. It is a "wild garden"
in the English style, including winding paths, a lagoon like pond,
and Mrs. Houghton's 1919 alpine rock garden. The Garden, and the
Webster Conservation Area of which it is a part, is under the jurisdiction
of the Newton Conservation Commission.
The City of Newton undertook the rehabilitation
of the Garden using funds from the Department of Environmental Management
and the Massachusetts Historical Commission. These funds were in
turn matched by the City of Newton, including funds from a Community
Development Block Grant, and donations by the Chestnut Hill Garden
The rehabilitation work not only involved clearing
and dredging to restore some of the original landscape design, which
had been overgrown, but also restoration of steppingstone pathways
and stairs, replacement of the foundation of the dam and a stone
bridge, and planting several new birch trees. It also involved new
fencing, as well as the creation of a wheelchair accessible entrance
and two pathways leading to viewing areas from which the rock garden
and water feature may be seen. The Mayor's Committee for People
with Disabilities also reviewed the project and concurred that it
will provide an experience in the city unlike the other areas available
to the disabled.
To assure ongoing care of the Garden, a new
nonprofit organization, The Friends of Houghton Garden, has been
formed. The organization is committed to the restoration and historic
preservation of the Houghton Garden's natural resources for the
enjoyment of generations to come. Interested citizens can contribute
time or donations by writing to The Friends of Houghton Garden at
P.O. Box 67155, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. The Chestnut Hill Garden
Club has also pledged its continued support to help with maintenance,
plantings and other activity, as has the Newton Conservation Commission.
Adapted from a press release provided by Ald.