The Norumbega Park Conservation Area is on the site of a 27-acre, privately owned park situated at the end of the streetcar line from Boston, which opened in 1897 and lasted until 1963. The park originally had a deer park, small zoo, popular canoeing facilities, amphitheater, and later the famous Totem Pole Ballroom.
“Canoeing is the all-engrossing sport on this part of the river. … On a pleasant afternoon or evening the water is often so densely covered that one might almost cross the stream by stepping from one canoe to another. Frequently during the summer the fleet parades, decorated with lanterns, bunting, and flowers, and various water fetes are held at odd times. The grounds and boathouses are extensive and well equipped; and near by are the houses of the Newton Boat Club, the Boston Canoe Club, and the Boston Athletic Association, whose large membership helps to swell the crowds upon the river on these occasions.”
—Boston, A Guide Book
by Edwin M. Bacon, 1910