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Ordway Park: Additional Information

Help Maintain and Improve Ordway Park

A fundraising campaign began in 2003 to create a special fund to maintain and add new plantings to Ordway Park.

Vision for Ordway Park
Ordway Park should be developed for a hybrid use based on the reclamation, to the extent possible, of the remaining original plants. Decisions concerning the selection of plants, either through thinning or replacement planning will be guided by the following criteria: 1) native or traditional plants consistent with the spirit of Priscilla Ordway's original plan, 2) native trees not commonly seen in Newton, but which are well-suited to the space, and 3) plants that are attractive to birds.

The concept of the park shall envision two distinct "rooms" for development and use: 1) A dense shade and evergreen area fronting Grant Avenue and a more open area predominated by beech and hicory trees fronting Everett and Gibbs Streets. The character of each of these sesctins will be maintained in decisions about what plants to keep and plant.

Existing trees, plants and shrubs will be inventoried. Labeling for an outdoor classroom will be considered if the School Department expresses interest.

In addition to the major tree work, thinning of saplings, and reclamation of existing shrubs, additional attention will be focused on the berms and banks, for which a low-maintenance ground cover will be sought.

The committee will consult with abutters about: 1) possible removal of the large dead twin tulip tree which is on the adjoining property, and 2) the utility wires that cross Ordway Park to the abutters home.

The Conservator and Jackson Homestead archives should be combed to gather as background information about the original plan and intent of the park, which may be used in future planning for the park.

Submitted December 10, 1997 Carol Corbett (chair), Doug Dickson, Bud Elliott, Judy Hepburn, Norm Richardson


Dedication of Ordway Park

May 19, 1976

H. Russell Perry

While there are numerous motivations which energize conservationists, I like to think that many are motivated strongly by a love for the object of their conservation effort, whether it be antiquities, barbershop quartets, wilderness, or whatever. Priscilla Ordway was so motivated and her conservation causes were many.

Perhaps some of you are not aware that Priscilla was born in this house on October 20, 1888, passed her entire life of 83 years here, and left the mortal world from her bedroom in this house, on her birthday in 1971. She loved the house and its grounds passionately, as perhaps only one could who was endowed with the sensitivity of an artist and enjoyed the freedom of the unmarried. Only begrudgingly would she allow changes which would alter her home from the way she had known it in her early years.

Her gardens and grounds were a particular gratification to her and were the object of much of her creative energy. Each tree, plant, bird bath, twist in a path was infused with her love, and all reflected this unique relationship back to the visitor as Priscilla conducted him on a tour of her grounds.

Her wish that the grounds be preserved after her death was often expressed to us who had the good fortune of being close to her. She was hopeful that they might bring to others some of the joy for which they had brought to her.

And so it is with much pleasure that we, Priscilla's relatives and friends, attend this dedication of her beloved property, knowing that much of what it had always been for her will be thoughtfully preserved by the Newton Conservators. A heartfelt thank you from us for your assumption of this responsibility.

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