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Hemlock Gorge and Echo Bridge

Overview

A National Historic Landmark, the handsome stone bridge contains the Sudbury Aqueduct, with a pedestrian walk on top. Visitors standing under the arch can make a fine echo and view the deep river gorge, waterfall, and steep hemlock-covered banks. Spectacular views atop the bridge.

 

Size: 23 acres    Longest Walk: 0.8 miles    Acquired: 1895

Longer Walks that include this property:
A Loop Along the Aqueducts

Maps

 

Located in Newton, Needham, and Wellesley

Other maps and aerial photos:
Bing Maps bird’s-eye view
Newton Assessor

Connects to:
Charles River Path–Quinobequin Road
Sudbury Aqueduct

Trail Map


Click map for larger image

GPS Enabled Trail Map

Access City of Newton GIS Map


To see your location, press the location icon while viewing the map on your smartphone.

Owner & Administrator Websites


Photo Gallery

First three photos shown here. Click a photo to view the complete slideshow or click here to browse the complete gallery.

History

1600s

English settlers knew the Ponkapoag Indians built a fish weir here to trap fish in the weir’s branches, catch fish from canoes, and smoke the fish on the river banks.

1700s

Grist mill, saw mill, fulling mill, snuff mills, and wire mill were built nearby.

1877

Echo Bridge built by Boston Water Works as the second largest masonry arch in the U. S.

1895

Acquired by the state for the Metropolitan Park System, one of its first purchases.

1984

MDC water system, including Echo Bridge, taken over by newly created Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA).

2006

Echo Bridge was briefly closed to pedestrians due to concern about safety of the railings. The bridge was soon reopened after temporary fencing was installed. The MWRA and city officials are seeking funding for permanent repairs. More info

2012

DCR rebuilds dike and spillway

Features

Charles River Walk, Geologic Features, Historic Site, Pond, Scenic View, Woods Trail
 

Additional Information

Newton Assessor’s Map ID: 51001 0001 and other parcels in Newton and Needham

Advocates & Caretakers:

Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Walks and Park Information:

An AMC book, More Nature Walks in Eastern Massachusetts, describes an easy 1-mile walk in Hemlock Gorge.

Another AMC book, WalkBoston, describes a 3-mile walk that includes Hemlock Gorge and Newton Upper Falls. See a map of this walk.

The park is described in the book, Walks in Wellesley.

A Walking Tour of Hemlock Gorge, by Kenneth W. Newcomb

Acoustics of Echo Bridge, including a video of a saxophone performance on the listening platform

More about the Blue Heron Trail

More History:

“Then and now” photos

1889 King’s Handbook of Newton

Old postcards from the Newton History Museum

Discover Historic Newton Upper Falls brochure

Kenneth W. Newcomb’s neighborhood history has a chapter that discusses Echo Bridge and Hemlock Gorge.

General:

Photos on Flickr … and more photos … and more … and still more

Preserving Echo Bridge (President’s message)

Echo Bridge Railing Restoration Project

“Echo Bridge” (a poem by Francis J. Ryan)

A book of poetry, Echoes in Hemlock Gorge, uses this park as a theme.

A new echo platform was opened in 2004 at the base of Echo Bridge. (more)

Boston Globe article on Echo Bridge

Echo Bridge receives an inauspicious designation

Wikipedia entries:

Echo Bridge

Hemlock Gorge

A blogger visits the park with her dogs