May 4, 2010

The Horticulturalists of Forest Hills

On Sunday, May 16th at 2:00 PM, Anthony Sammarco will lead a walking tour on "The Horticulturalists of Forest Hills."
During the nineteenth century, many Bostonians cultivated fruits and flowers on their estates as "gentlemen farmers," and some became proiminent members of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. The founder of Forest Hills Cemetery, Henry A.S. Dearborn (1783-1851,) served as first president of the horticultual society and would cultivate hybrids fruits on his Roxbury estate "Datchett House." Dearborn had intended Forest Hills to serve the Boston community as a lush green sanctuary, an arboretum and picturesque park as well as Boston's most beautiful burying ground. He was to create the first jewel in the Emerald Necklace a generation before Frederick Law Olmstead came to Boston.
Among the prominent horticulturalists whose graves at Forest Hills we will visit are Marshall Pinckney Wilder, hybridizer of such notable camellias as the Camellias Wilderi, Mrs. Abby Wilder, Mrs. Julia Wilder and the Jenny Wilder; Samuel Downer, hybridizer of the "Downer's Late Cherry;" Thaddeus Clapp, hybridizer of the "Clapp's Favorite Pear;" and John Richardson, hybrizider of many peonies among them the "Festiva Maxima" peony.

Participants will sample some of their edible creations such as pears and cherries along the way.We will meet at the Main Gate and please wear comfortable shoes. $9.00

For info (617) 524-3354

May 3, 2010

R. Clipston Sturgis

Yesterday, the walking tour sponsored by the Forest Hills Educational Trust featured the buildings of Forest Hills Cemetery, as well as a few of the architects and builders who are buried at this magnificent cemetery. Among those discussed was Richard Clipston Sturgis, a past president of the Boston Institute of Architects.
R. Clipton Sturgis (1860-1951) was a major architect who was to contribute to the fabric of Boston's rich architectural heritage. Sturgis was the son of Russell Sturgis of Boston, and a nephew of John Hubbard Sturgis; he attended St. Paul's School after being graduated from Harvard would succeed to his uncle's prominent architectural practice in Boston. During his early career, he was to finish his uncle's work in 1876 on the Church of the Advent on Brimmer Street on the flat of Beacon Hill. Sturgis also was to design many other buildings, including the Boston Athletic Association as well as in his own words "houses for the Thayers and Peabodys and Cabots, and shortly thereafter an addition to the Museum of Fine Arts." He also designed buildings for the Winsor School in Boston's Fenway and a hospital for St. Paul's School, from which he had been graduated. It was said in his obituary that for "more than 60 years he almost singlehandedly set Boston's architectural fashions before and after the turn of the [twentieth] century."
Sturgis was a major society architect in Boston, and his rich and solid designs that drew on English traditions included the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (1907,) the Perkins School for the Blind (1911-13,) the Robbins Memorial, the Arlington Town Hall (1913,) additions to the Massachusetts State House (1914-1917,) and the Federal Reserve Bank, in Boston (1922.)

During his illustrious career, R. Clipton Sturgis served as president of the Boston Institute of Architects, the American Institute of Architects and the Society of Arts and Craftys in Boston. His architectural drawings and papers are in the collection of the Boston Athenaeum.