Historic wall gets restored

June 27, 2008
By

JOHN RUCH


Courtesy Photo
Part of the Arnold Arboretum perimeter wall along South Street was recently restored.

Part of the Arnold Arboretum’s historic stone walls was repaired earlier this spring, while the crumbling conditions of other stretches remain a concern.

The restoration, completed in March, covered about 700 feet of fieldstone wall bordering the Bussey Brook Meadow section of the arboretum, which sits across South Street from the main arboretum.

The nonprofit, independent Arboretum Park Conservancy won a City of Boston “Small Changes” grant for the work and provided matching funds. Arnold Arboretum and the volunteer group Arnold Arboretum Committee also donated funds.

Much of the arboretum is bordered by stone walls that are roughly a century old. In several spots, they are in obvious need of repair. Wall maintenance is the responsibility of the City of Boston, but is low on the list in a time of tight city budgets, as the Gazette previously reported.

Crumbling sections of wall along the arboretum’s Arborway border were discussed earlier this month at a state meeting about plans for improvements to that roadway. The plans include turning the sidewalk next to the wall into a mixed-use walking and bicycling path. Some residents expressed concern that stones could fall from the wall and become hazardous or at least annoying to path users.

Gary Claibourne of Pressley Associates, a design firm hired to plan the Arborway improvements, said it appears that a stream running alongside part of the wall is undermining it. But any sort of wall work is outside the state’s jurisdiction.

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