Amory Playground is located contiguous to Hall’s Pond Sanctuary and Amory Woods, within the Cottage Farm Local Historic District. The park’s topography consists of a vegetated bowl with each of the four sides exhibiting differing characteristics: 1) a line of mature oaks, 2) urban apartment buildings, 3) willows and Hall’s Pond Sanctuary, and 4) the mixed woodlands of Amory Woods. A parking lot separates the playground from Amory Woods. The field is visually blocked from the single family houses by the mature trees and its sunken landform. The parking lot also serves Hall’s Pond Sanctuary. Park recreational facilities include 6 clay tennis courts, 1 baseball and 1 softball diamond with the outfield areas also used for soccer. The park is also a popular dog walking area participating in the Green Dog Program.
Most of this area was originally a large wetland known as Cedar Swamp. The Massachusetts tribe maintained a palisade, or fort, constructed of cedar surrounded by a ditch three feet in depth and a parapet three feet in height. Remains of the fort were visible until 1845 when William Amory removed them. Over the years, the swamp slowly shrank. During the 1800s, the land was part of property owned by David Sears, which he divided and distributed amongst his children. The land was given to Anna Sears, who married William Amory; by the 1840s, the Amory family had built a large house. Their 25-acre property contained a hill, dale, grove, meadow, and stream and extended to Powell Street. The associated Gothic Revival house was located on a ridge of what is now Amory Street, and was reportedly built on the ruins of the Indian palisade. William Amory lived until 1884 and his widow until 1895. Their sons, William and Charles, resided here until c.1890, when they began to lease out the property. The hill was leveled, the trees cut down and a portion of the property was taken for Amory Street. It also included a section of Hall’s Pond.
In 1903, the Town bought 8.2 acres from the Amory Land Trust to be used as a public playground with the option to erect a school on the property. The owners of the Pond on Ivy Street offered to the Town the deed to the pond and a strip surrounding it, if the Town would maintain it as a park. This proposal was not accepted.
The last renovation of the park was completed in 2009, and included rebuilding the ballfields and drainage, new irrigation, a continuous and accessible perimeter walking path that is bituminous concrete with rolled aggregate, an accessible path to the upper-level restrooms at the tennis courts, a stair connecting to Amory Street, and new site furniture.
Park Renovation Project
This renovation will include the complete replacement of the tennis courts, renovation to the comfort station/pro shop and surrounding landscape, the parking lot, and the boardwalks, railings and overlooks within the Halls Pond Sanctuary.
We are starting the Design Review Committee process for Amory Playground. To start this process the first step is to appoint the Design Review Committee which is made up of four members of the Park and Recreation Commission and three members of the public. If you are interested in serving on the Design Review Committee (DRC) for this project, please write a brief letter that includes the information listed below:
- Name, address, and email.
- Why you are interested in serving on the Amory Playground DRC. This may include a particular use, experience, or perspective of the park that may provide unique and beneficial insight into the design process.
- Any particular professional/technical skills that you have that would be beneficial to the design process
The letter can be sent via email to [email protected] or via the post office no later than Wednesday, December 6, 2023.
Please address the letter as follows:
Clara Batchelor, Co-Chair, Park and Recreation Commission c/o Alexandra Vecchio, Park and Open Space Director, 333 Washington Street, 4th Floor Brookline, MA 02445
Three members of the public will be appointed to the committee at the Park and Recreation Commission meeting on Tuesday, December 12th.
Members of the committee are expected to attend the public meetings, offer input on the design, and will be voting on a final concept plan which is then presented to the entire Park and Recreation Commission for their review and vote. The Park and Recreation Commission encourages all members of the public to participate in the playground design review process even if you are not selected as a member of the Design Review Committee. If you would like further information on this project and/or process please reach out to Jessie Waisnor, Senior Landscape Architect with the Parks and Open Space Division, who will be leading this process with an outside design team. She can be reached at 617-730-2616 or [email protected].