Tall pine grove by I-495 with an interesting history

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#1)  Tall pine grove by I-495 with an interesting history

Postby a_blooming_botanist » Sun Apr 24, 2016 12:08 pm

On one of the last snowy days that we had here in eastern Mass I chose to investigate a stand of white pines that looked like it could stand to be measured. I had driven by these trees countless times, both on the highway and on back roads in Bolton but had never given them a close look. After finding out that they are growing on privately owned property with a conservation restriction, I stopped by the owner’s house to ask for permission to wander in their back woods.

I was greeted by a very nice woman, who let me in and told me a little bit about the history of the house, which happens to be the oldest standing house in the town, built sometime shortly after 1700 by David Whitcomb. The house had fallen into severe disrepair when it was purchased by the notable archeologist Philip Phillips some time in the first half of the twentieth century. He restored the house to the near-original condition that we see today, and also took on several other projects around the property which one could “only do in the ‘30s and ‘40s,” like building a spring-fed pond in the backyard and cutting trails through the woods on which to drive his Mercedes (!). When Mr. Phillips got wind of plans for an interstate highway that would run right through his backyard he put on his finest city clothes, marched into Boston, and by some way or another, managed to convince the authorities to lay the new road just a little bit to the west. This is why the stretch of I-495 between exits 27 and 28 is not a straight line, but bumps out a little bit.

Had Mr. Phillips not done what he did, there might not be this fine stand of white pines on the slope leading down to the marsh just south of the Sugar Road overpass. Leading the pack is a 122-foot pine, which I affectionately call “the Doctress.”

               
                       
The Doctress.jpg
                                       
               

Jared

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#2)  Re: Tall pine grove by I-495 with an interesting history

Postby ElijahW » Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:14 pm

Jared,

Nice find.  Those trees can't be too old since Whitcombs have been cutting White pines in Massachusetts and Connecticut for close to 400 years.  I enjoy reading your posts; we have several active members from eastern MA, but reports from your area have been few and far between.  Keep up the good work,

Elijah Whitcomb
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

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