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Back Bay Fens "Emerald Necklace" - Boston, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NorStar
N 42° 20.589 W 071° 05.665
19T E 327476 N 4690001
Quick Description: The Back Bay Fens, which includes the Muddy River, some wetlands, memorials, victory gardens, and athletic fields, may be the most altered of the Olmsted parks in Boston's Emerald Necklace.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 4/11/2010 9:19:45 PM
Waymark Code: WM8JZE
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Rayman
Views: 6

Long Description:
In Boston, in the Fenway section of the city, is a long green space stretching from the border with Brookline to the Charles River, and follows the Muddy River. This green space is known as the Back Bay Fens, and is part of Boston's Emerald Necklace.

The park stretched from the Charles River at the confluence with the Muddy River, to the intersection of several roads near the Longwood Medical Center complex and where the Riverway starts.

The Back Bay Fens was established in 1879 and was the first park established of the Emerald Necklace. Olmsted was challenged with designing a park that restored the remaining salt marshes to health. By that time, so much of the original marshes were filled in to provide land for a quickly growing city. The marshes were also a location where sewage and other things were dumped into the water, creating a stinking pit. Olmsted redesigned the river and fens into an interesting landscape of meandering river and wetlands in a park-setting.

In 1910, the Charles River was dammed at the present day location of the Museum of Science, and the water turned from brackish to fresh. Thus, the salt marshes had to be transformed to freshwater wetlands. Also, noted architect, Arthur Shurcliff, made changes in the landscape that were popular in the 1940s, and other things like athletic fields and a rose garden was added. At the north end, the stretch of land known as Charlesgate has been 'buried' under entrance ramps to and from Storrow Drive.

It is easy to see that the park is well used and loved. Today, there are several additional features. There are three war memorials arranged in a circle. There is a victory garden that is only one of two remaining in the U.S. that date back to World War II. There is also a Japanese bell that is dedicated as a symbol for peace.

The waymark is located near the Aggassiz Road bridge, which is a beautiful stone bridge. However, the park is accessible all around its borders.


City of Boston (Back Bay Fens):
(visit link)

Emerald Necklace Conservancy (Back Bay Fens):
(visit link)
Type of Public Space: Park and Parkway

Job Number: Unkown at this Time

Architect: F. L. Olmsted

Visit Instructions:
There are no specific visit requirements, however telling about your visit is strongly encouraged. Additional photos of the park to add to the gallery are also nice, but not required. Pictures with a GPS or you in them is highly discouraged.
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