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May 2021: Friends of Minute Man Secure $105,000 in grant funding for the Buttrick Garden
The Friends of Minute Man National Park is pleased to announce that we have secured two significant grants for the Buttrick Gardens. A $100,000 grant from the Concord Community Preservation Fund will preserve and rehabilitate the hardscape of the historic gardens while a $5000 grant from Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area will allow us to add interpretive signage to the landscape. The Buttrick Gardens are adjacent to the North Bridge Visitor Center at the Minute Man National Historical Park and date back to 1911.
The hardscape preservation project will include resetting and repair of the brick, bluestone, and cobble pathways as well as the reconstruction of the stairway leading to the sunken garden. The addition of interpretive signage will provide educational text and lively images, providing an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the historic garden and the natural landscape. Enjoyed by visitors from near and far, the funds will allow us to improve both the safety and appearance of this historic garden.
Park Superintendent BJ Dunn notes that “the National Park Service is extremely grateful to the Friends of Minute Man National Park for taking on this project and to the Town of Concord and Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area for these generous grants. The Buttrick Gardens are the setting for hundreds of thousands of visitors annually who wander through them to the lower terrace to view the North Bridge.”
The hardscape preservation and interpretive signage projects are slated to begin in 2021 and will involve periodic closings of the garden to visitors.
For more information please contact Kathleen Fahey, Executive Director of the Friends of Minute Man at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image: The Buttrick Gardens before rehabilitation. Note the uneven walking surfaces and grass growing between the bricks and bluestone.
June 2021: Preservation Update
The Buttrick Gardens overlooking the North Bridge were initially constructed in the early 1900s, and portions are now being restored to reflect their original appearance. Stonemason Stan Nobles and his sons Stan Jr. and Alex of Nobles Stone Masonry recently repaired the brick walkways in the formal garden and the cobblestone walkways in the east terrace garden. The completed work provides a safe and historically accurate setting to enjoy the gardens.
Stan enjoys working on historical projects such as this one and he noted that the Buttrick Gardens have “nice, high-quality brick.” He can tell that the craftsmen who worked on the pathways before him provided quality work, and he is proud to “restore the garden paths back to their original appearance.”
Stan Nobles has begun the next phase of the project and is currently working on the bluestone pathways. Stan and his team love chatting with visitors about their work so stop by and say hello!
Images from left to right, clockwise: Completed brick pathways, Stan Nobles and son Alex finishing repairs to the brick walkways.
Written by Liam Donahue, NPS Landscape and Garden Steward. To learn more about Liam, read the Staff Spotlight blog article.
July 2021: Preservation Update
Progress continues as Nobles Stone Masonry have moved down to the sunken garden to start work on the bluestone. Alex Nobles Jr. is seen at work near the overlook to the North Bridge; he’ll remove broken stones and reset existing stones.
Notice the beautiful new stairway leading down to the sunken garden! It looks like it has always been there, but in fact, it replaced a poured concrete stairway that was likely installed in the 1960’s. The old stairway had 5 steep steps – the new stairway will improve visitor safety as it has 6 steps and will be fitted with a wrought iron railing.
October 2021: Preservation Update
The Buttrick Gardens hardscape preservation project at Minute Man National Historical Park has come to a close just in time to be enjoyed by visitors this fall! The project was made possible through a $100,000 grant secured by the Friends of Minute Man National Park from the Concord Community Preservation Fund. The extensive historic gardens are located next to the North Bridge Visitor Center and are enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year. The garden hardscape restoration included resetting and leveling brick and bluestone walkways; adding a new, safer stairway and handrail to the sunken garden; and replacing missing cobblestones in the pathway leading to the Concord River.
The historic Buttrick Gardens date to 1911 so care was taken to preserve the historic integrity of the gardens during preservation. Margie Brown, Minute Man’s Natural & Cultural Resource Manager, worked with Boston University intern Rachel Farago to make sure the restoration project closely followed the original design. Years of wear resulted in smaller, broken pieces of bluestone in the sunken garden. Margie and Rachel used historic plans and images from the park archives to determine the proper size, shape, and pattern for any replacement stones.
The project was carefully and skillfully completed by Nobles Stone Masonry. Stan, Stan Jr., and Alex Nobles spent many hot and rainy summer days using their talents to restore the Buttrick Gardens hardscape. The results of their hard work have provided visitors at Minute Man National Historical Park with beautifully rehabilitated gardens to enjoy for many years to come!
Images from left to right, clockwise: Alex Nobles at work in the sunken garden; Rachel Farago, Stan Nobles, and Margie Brown plan the bluestone preservation; a finished section of bluestone with daylilies in bloom.
Written by Rachel Carmela Farago, NPS Landscape and Garden Steward. Rachel is assisting with various conservation and restoration projects at Minute Man National Historical Park as she completes her master’s degree in Historic Preservation at Boston University.