Larz Anderson Park
Larz Anderson Park Historic District
|Location||Boston and Brookline, Massachusetts|
|NRHP reference #||85003245|
|Added to NRHP||October 17, 1985|
Larz Anderson Park is a wooded, landscaped, and waterscaped 64-acre (26 ha) parkland in Brookline, Massachusetts that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The southwest corner of the park is in Boston. The park contains playing fields, picnic areas, gardens, waterways, an ice skating rink, and two sites of special interest:
- Larz Anderson Auto Museum, the oldest automobile collection in the United States
- Putterham School, a one-room schoolhouse from colonial times
Set amidst a landscape of ponds and trees are athletic fields, historic buildings and a skating rink. The Boston skyline can be seen from atop the main ridge and the open, rolling hills make the park one of the best kite-flying spots in the area. Brookline requires permits for the use of any of the park's 12 picnic tables, which offer access to barbecue grills, for a controversial fee of $40 per four-hour block and $80 per eight-hour block ($80 and $160, respectively, for non-residents). Stakeholders have criticized the exorbitant fees for the use of a public park as unnecessarily exclusionary to both residents and non-residents, particularly to disadvantaged youth.
The cavernous Carriage House houses the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. A self-guided walking tour brings visitors past museum, the Putterham School, the water garden, Chinese garden, Japanese garden, Italian garden and bowling green.
The Jack Kirrane Ice Skating Rink, located on the site of the Andersons' Italian Garden, is named for Jack Kirrane, a Brookline native and captain of the 1960 gold-medal winning United States Olympic Ice Hockey team.
Cleared and developed as a farm in the 17th century by the Welds, in 1899 the estate was purchased from a fellow Weld Family member by socialite heiress Isabel Weld Perkins and her Paris-born diplomat husband Larz Anderson.
Crowning this Brookline property was a twenty-five room mansion overlooking the Boston skyline which the Andersons named "Weld" to honor Isabel's grandfather. They remodeled it to resemble Lulworth Castle, an ancestral home associated with the Welds. This became the Andersons' home for summers and Christmas holidays.
Their gardens, designed by Charles A. Platt, were featured in a 1904 issue of Town & Country. The accompanying photographs show lavishly ornate terraces laid out in Europe style. After Larz served as Ambassador to Japan, the Andersons improved the beautiful property still further and added the Chinese and Japanese gardens, a water garden with koi, sculpture, a polo field, topiary and an outdoor theater.
When Isabel Anderson died in 1948, she bequeathed this entire estate to the Town of Brookline, including mansion, land, and a collection of vehicles. Although the mansion became damaged beyond affordable repair and was torn down in 1955, the immense Carriage House and the elegant "Temple of Love" on the shore of the water garden still reflect the charm and magnificence of Weld when the Andersons were alive.
Today the park is used for the home cross country course for Brookline High School.
In March 2009, the Larz Anderson Park won the Nicholas Rhodes Park of the Month Award.
The Andersons assembled an extraordinary collection of horse-drawn carriage, sleighs and vintage motorcars. In donating these along with the property, Isabel stipulated that these be known as the "Larz Anderson Collection." Fourteen of the original thirty-two vehicles remain in the collection and are still on display as part of the Larz Anderson Auto Museum
Since the grand opening over fifty years ago, the museum has grown into a major New England non-profit educational institution with community events, lectures, children's programs, walking tours of the park, and an ever-changing series of exhibits on the Andersons, motor vehicles, and the automobile's impact on society and culture.
Built 1768 elsewhere in Brookline and moved to Larz Anderson Park in 1966, the Putterham School is now an educational museum displaying books, teaching aids, schoolroom equipment, exhibits related to the move and other articles of historical interest.
From June until October, the school is open from noon until 3 pm on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. Members of the Brookline Historical Society will also open the museum by appointment for school groups and other visitors.
- National Register of Historic Places listings in southern Boston, Massachusetts
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Brookline, Massachusetts
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15.
- Compare USGS topo with Walking tour guide
- Larz Anderson Auto Museum Archived 2006-07-15 at the Wayback Machine
- Brookline Historical Society Archived 2006-08-24 at the Wayback Machine
- Brookline Recreation: Larz Anderson Park
- "Winthrop Square/Minot Rose Garden". Brookline, MA. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
- Anderson, Larz: Letters and Journals of a Diplomat, New York, 1940.
- Anderson, Isabella Under the Black Horse Flag, Boston, 1926
- Del Tredici, Peter: "Early American Bonsai: The Larz Anderson Collection of the Arnold Arboretum", Arnoldia (Summer 1989)
- Town and Country, March 12, 1904: The Gardens at Weld
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