Facilities

Find a park by activity or feature in the search box on the left.
View all facilities

Emerald Necklace II - Olmsted Park

Features

  1. Benches/Seating
  2. Ponds
  3. Walkway/Paths/Trails
Overview:
Olmsted Park has three major ponds, a watercourse connecting them, six historic pedestrian bridges and attractive walkways and stone walls sheltered from the busy city by the densely wooded areas. The Park forms the broader segment of the Emerald Necklace Park System. Olmsted Park is directly adjacent to Jamaica Pond. The park has the second largest historic forest in the Necklace with 17 acres of forest cover. Ward's Pond, a protected preserve in the park, has boardwalk access. Babbling Brook, near Willow Pond, is currently under restoration.

Park History:
Olmsted Park was designed as a chain of picturesque fresh-water ponds, alternating with attractive natural groves and meadows. Included in the plans for Olmsted Park was the creation of Leverett Pond from a swamp near Brookline Village. Originally named Leverett Park, the park's name was changed in 1900 by the Boston Parks Commissioners to honor Olmsted.

Land for the park construction was purchased between 1881 and 1894 from private property owners. Seven "Natural History" ponds were created between Ward's and Willow ponds in 1893 for Natural History Society educational programs. They were filled in during the last years of the 19th century. In the mid 1980s, as part of the Massachusetts Olmsted Historic Landscape Preservation Program, the Commonwealth appropriated over $1 million for the restoration of the Riverway and Olmsted Parks. The Olmsted Master Plan was implemented in 1997 and 1998 with funds from the Community Development Block Grant. The Willow Pond and Ward's Pond footbridges were restored between 1983 and 1984 through a grant from the George B. Henderson Foundation to the Massachusetts Association for Olmsted Parks. The Emerald Necklace Park System is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Deed/Title/Restrictions:
The Town acquired the park property between 1863 and 1900 through 40 transactions. Most of the parcels were acquired "to be used for park purposes under the supervision of the Park Commissioner." Some of the original property owners included Trustees of Aspinwall Land Company, Trustees of the Brookline Land Company, Overseers of the Poor, City of Boston, House of the Good Shepherd, Trustees of A. Aspinwall estate, and Boston & Albany Railroad Company. It is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.

Additional Information
Category: Historic Parks
Size:         12.94 acres
Protection: Article 97, NR, SR
Manager: Brookline DPW, Parks and Open Space Division
Location: Between Chestnut and Boylston Streets
Precinct: 4 & 5
Inventory Date: 10/09/04, revised 2/1/05
Vicinity: Surrounded by major streets, Brookline Village, and apartment buildings.