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Courtesy Medford Brooks Estate Land Trust
On November 25, 1995, I took my first walk at the Brooks Estate. With me was my husband, a few friends and a member of the Historical Society of Medford. As we walked, I felt I was in the country, far removed from Medford. I felt a sense of peace and tranquility when among the overgrown trees and wild vegetation that engulf the entire property. About a thousand feet from the property entrance are three, large, man-made ponds. A wooden boardwalk leading to the main pond is the only modern addition to the site.
Overgrown pathways that meander throughout the property are barely visible due to infrequent foot traffic. The landmark oaks and beeches appear to be original estate trees. Many of the large trees are damaged. It appears that they are in decline due to the profusion of European buckthorn. Much of the property consists of second-growth woodland, predominately ash and Norway maple. The under story of buckthorn, rosa vagusa, and maple-leaf viburnum dominates the ground plane.
After my first walking tour, my immediate reaction was "Why has it taken so long for this place to be considered worthy of protection as conservation land?" Obviously, I was not the only person to ask this question. For a number of years I had been reading articles in the local newspapers about the future use of the Brooks Estate. Much of the reporting focused on the conflicts between the Cemetery Board and those citizens trying to save the Brooks Estate. Prior to my November walk, I had never thought much about "open space." I thought about such resources as just "being there." Writing this report has educated me on the importance of preserving precious land not only for today, but for future generations.
From the bachelors thesis: Case Study of the Brooks Estate, by Linda M. Penta. American Studies Program, Leslie College