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Larz Anderson Park

Category: Historic Parks
Size: 61.13 acres
Protection: Article 97, NR, SR
Manager: Brookline DPW, Parks and Open Space Division
Location: Newton Street
Precinct: 1, 3, & 4
Inventory Date: 10/01/04, revised 2/1/05
Vicinity: Mainly single-family houses, town houses and school.
larzanderson

Overview:
Larz Anderson Park, the largest park in Brookline, was formerly the Larz Anderson estate. It is composed of large expanses of lawn at the top of the hill, playing fields, and sweeping slopes. At the highest point (where the main house stood), there are exceptional views of Boston. The hill provides opportunities for active and passive recreation that are not available elsewhere in Town. The grassy slopes provide a premier spot for sledding, watching sunsets, observing stars, kite flying and simply running on the slopes.

The architecturally significant Carriage House remains and houses the Museum of Transportation. Contemporary uses include a hilltop outdoor skating rink in the former Italian Garden and picnic areas with grills, located close to the newly restored pond, athletic fields and a playground.The park houses several Town offices including the Division of Parks maintenance yard. The community garden has over 80 plots.

Park History:
The land was the property of the Goddard family during the Revolutionary War. William Fletcher Weld purchased it between 1841 and 1881 to create "Windy Top," his country estate. William Fletcher Weld II inherited the property and built a polo ground where the athletic fields are now located.

Isabel Weld Anderson and Larz Anderson acquired the property and transformed it into one of the showcases of New England. Mrs. Anderson bequeathed the main portion of the estate to the Town. The town report of that year states that the plants in the greenhouses were set in the Town's parks, squares and around public buildings. The Town tore the vacant house down in 1955 and removed the Italian garden to make space for the skating rink. With funds provided by a Massachusetts Self-help grant, the Town is preserving and stabilizing the landscape and the gazebo as well as renovating the playground. In 2010, the Larz Anderson Skating Pavilion was renamed the Jack Kirrane Ice Skating Rink, in honor of Jack Kirrane, a life-long resident of Brookline and a member of the American 1948 and 1960 Winter Olympics Hockey teams, winning the gold medal in 1960.

Deed/Title/Restrictions:
Isabel Anderson donated the land to the Town "for purposes of public recreation, or for charitable purposes, or for purposes of public education" in 1951. The property is individually listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. There is also a 1998 Massachusetts Historic Commission Preservation Restriction for the top of the hill.

CLICK HERE for information on picnic shelter/BBQ sites and wedding permits, community gardens and directions

CLICK HERE for information on the Jack Kirrane Ice Skating Rink at Larz Anderson Park

 


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