The English Garden: Perfection on Earth – An Evening with Curt DiCamillo

In this lavishly illustrated talk, noted historian Curt DiCamillo will discuss the development of the English landscape tradition and demonstrate why the English garden has often been called Britain’s single most important contribution to world culture. Though the earliest English gardens were planted by Roman conquerors in the 1st century AD, the English garden as we know it today is a designed landscape style that was first developed in early 18th century England as part of the setting surrounding a grand English country house. So successful was this English innovation that it quickly spread throughout Europe, becoming the dominant gardening style, replacing the formalized, symmetrical French style of gardening—itself based on Italian Renaissance examples. Though indebted to the earlier fashions that had reigned supreme for centuries, the newly-developed and uniquely English garden was a stylistic breakthrough, the likes of which had never before been seen in Europe. Often called “educated nature” by its proponents, this innovative English garden style offered an idealized view of nature influenced by the landscape paintings of Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin.

250th Anniversary of the First Church in Jamaica Plain

We are approaching the 250th anniversary of an act of the Massachusetts colonial legislature finalized on May 26, 1773.  The act defined the boundaries of a new standing order parish on the “pond plain in the Jamaica end” of the Town of Roxbury.  These standing order parishes were part of the organization of the colony, providing for the militia as well as taxation used for a meetinghouse and an educated teacher. It can be argued that the founding of the Third Parish of Roxbury (now the First Church in Jamaica Plain) coincides with the beginning of an established Jamaica Plain. George Wardle, historian of the First Church in Jamaica Plain, will tell the tale of Suzanna and Benjamin Pemberton and how they doggedly lead their neighbors in a long process to get permission to carve out a new parish in the middle of Roxbury. They persisted in the quest despite opposition by the two existing parishes (who did not want to give up tax-paying parishioners to another church). It was quite a feat, one that was almost undone in 1786 during the economic struggles that occurred after the American Revolution.

Casey Arborway Tour: Rediscovering the Original Topography of Forst Hills

Join the JP Historical Society and local historian Richard Heath for a walking tour of the imagination. Not one square inch remains of the Forest Hills of forty years ago; the Southwest Corridor and the Casey Arborway obliterated all architectural landmarks from that era. And yet the vista and connection that Frederick Law Olmsted once designed and supervised for the parkway between the Arboretum and Franklin Park (most of which was destroyed in 1952 for the Casey Overpass) have been remade. Our walk will follow Olmsted's plan (and end at the lower busway of Forest Hills Station). The tour will also cover the original transportation patterns which characterized Forest Hills well before Olmsted made his plan, those of the Norfolk & Bristol Turnpike and the Boston & Providence Railroad.

Re-installation of Historic Plaque

When the old Post Office was knocked down, a Myrtle Street neighbor saved the historic plaque that used to be on the building. After 10 years, the plaque - proclaiming Jamaica Plan as the Eden of America - is going to be re-installed by the Bulfinch Company. Please come along to a short ceremony to mark the occasion. Chris Osgood, Boston's Chief of Streets (and JP resident) will be on hand too.

Walking Tour of Jamaica Pond

Once a district that only included the houses of Boston’s elite, the Pond later was put to industrial use as tons of ice were harvested there each winter. Learn about the movers and shakers such as Francis Parkman and James Michael Curley who made their homes on the Pond’s shores. Discover how the Pond was transformed from private estates and warehouses into the parkland we know today. All JPHS tours are free to the public and are offered on dates shown. Tours last between 60 and 90 minutes and are canceled in case of heavy rain.