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Hall's Pond Sanctuary and Amory Woods

Category: Conservation Area
Size: Hall's Pond - 3.5 acres
Amory Woods - 1.56 acres
Protection: Article 97, NR, SR, LHD
Manager: Conservation Commission, Brookline DPW, Parks and Open Space Division
Location: Behind 1120 Beacon Street
Precinct: 1
Inventory Date: 10/12/04, revised 2/1/05
Vicinity: Amory playground, condo buildings, single-family homes and a parking lot.
hallspond

Overview:
Hall's Pond is one of two natural ponds remaining in Brookline. The sanctuary contains a pond, wetlands, an upland area, a formal garden area, and a short trail with wetland overlooks that circles the pond. Amory Woods was incorporated into and connected to Hall's Pond in 2000. Amory Woods has a small wetland, handicapped accessible nature trail, and a gazebo. The pond and uplands provide habitat for a variety of birds including great blue herons, black-crowned night herons, kingfishers, and red-winged blackbirds. With no spring or stream feeding the pond, the source of the water in the pond is rainwater falling in the surrounding heavily developed urban land. The sanctuary is used for habitat for plants and animals, environmental education and passive exploration. Active recreation, such as ball games, bicycling and dog walking are not permitted inside the property.

Park History:
Well into the 1800s, the sanctuary was part of Cedar Swamp. Minna Hall, a co-founder of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, owned it in 1896. About 1910, Charles A. Newhall acquired the land between the pond and Beacon Street and built apartment buildings and formal gardens. Hall's Pond was reduced to its present size around 1948 when a dam was constructed to the west of the pond and the land was filled to create Amory Playground. The Town purchased the property in 1975 as its first conservation land. In 1976 the Friends of Hall's Pond was founded by Josephine Albrecht and other citizens to assist the Conservation Commission in managing it. The 2000 restoration project included the unification of Amory Woods with the sanctuary, the enhancement of the sanctuary's ecological integrity and improvements to the water quality and wetland habitat. The Town acquired Amory Woods in 1977 from the Massachusetts Association for the Blind. The sanctuary and Amory Woods are located within the Cottage Farm Historic District.

The sanctuary saw extensive improvements in 2002, with existing wetlands restored and new wetlands created, improvements to drainage into Hall's Pond, new fencing, a new boardwalk around the pond, installation of commemorative granite piers, and the upland transformed by removal of invasive plant species and replanting with native species. The pathway system in Amory Woods was improved in 2005.

Deed/Title/Restrictions:
It is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places and is located within the Cottage Farm Historic District.

 


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