Hello! June closes with a beautiful weekend of sun and warm, summer temperatures. This weekend would be terrific for sunning on the beach, working in the yard, cooking out, or taking in a ball game.
Sixty-five years ago that is exactly what was going on at Frothingham Park. In the summer of 1957, someone took a photo of a baseball game being played at Frothingham. The photo is taken from the hill near the Sheridan Street gate, and overlooks the outfield towards home plate. Though the photo is printed in black and white, one can easily see why playing ball at Frothingham Park is such a special experience! The field is well manicured, the basepaths smooth, the infield and outfield grass short and sturdy. Dozens of people are watching from the concrete stands. Others find the shade of the beautiful trees is the best place to watch from. Since the trees are well leafed out, I think this might be a summer game, perhaps our beloved Easton Huskies. How many of us have trekked to the Park to watch the Huskies, or our Oliver Ames High School teams, or Little League teams play? Even better, how many of us played in any of those games? With its beautiful baseball field, shade trees, natural beauty, and welcoming water fountain, Frothingham Park has no equal when it comes to a great place for sports. Today the Park is still a wonderful place to play in, or watch a baseball game. This photo, taken from approximately the same location as the 1957 photo, looks over that same green outfield towards the area of home plate. The field itself, aptly named for the late Robert "Buddy" Wooster who took such great care of the field, the park, and played games there, is as nicely kept as ever. The trees have matured since that 1957 photo was taken, providing even more beauty and shade. Driving by one can still catch a good ballgame, and certainly catch memories of heroics of years past. Does anyone remember Ken MacAfee hitting a ball onto Sheridan Street, over the iron fence? That must have been a truly Ruthian blast! Today the Park provides a safe playspace for young people, basketball, tennis, and pickleball courts, a track and paths for walking. A new pavilion adds a nice piece to an already inviting area. How many people packed a picnic lunch and escaped to the shady places at the Park to escape the summer heat? The Park is many things to many people, and a true treasure to our town since its establishment in 1930 as a gift from Mrs. Mary Ames Frothingham in memory of her late husband, Congressman Louis A. Frothingham. By the way, Mr. Frothingham was an excellent athlete and one of the best baseball players ever at Harvard. During the Great Depression, the Park was an anchor for so many. During this past pandemic, the Park once again proved its importance to so many people as a place to play, a place to relax, and a center of our community. Until next week, stay well,
Hello from beautiful Easton! The weather continues to play its cards like a true New England deck – warm one day, then showery and muggy, and today sunny but cool!
My father was a fine man, so it’s easy for me to have good memories of him as Father’s Day approaches. I encourage you to think of a special man who made a difference in your life, whether it was dad, a teacher, a coach, a neighbor, an uncle or grandparent. And men, let’s all be role models for the young ones who are looking up to us.
The Museum had a very busy and successful reopening last weekend! Both Saturday and Sunday found our place filled with lots of visitors stopping in to see the Morse car and new exhibits at the Museum. I look forward to our July and August open houses, and catching up with many of you as the summer unfolds.
Let me run a few numbers by you today. Can you guess what these represent:
44 of 46
These numbers belong to now retired Oliver Ames High School Girls Basketball Coach Elaine “Laney” Clement-Holbrook, who is being honored next weekend by her alma mater Bridgewater State University. She racked up 733 career wins, and is the winningest girls basketball coach in Massachusetts history; her teams qualified for the state tournament in 44 of 46 years of coaching; she won 19 Hockomock League titles; 4 Division 2 South Sectional Championships, 2 Division 2 Eastern Massachusetts Championships, 3 State Championships (2006, 2010, 2022); and is a member of 5 Halls of Fame (Dedham High School, Bridgewater State University, New England Basketball, Massachusetts Basketball Coaches, and the Oliver Ames High School Hall of Fame.) She was also the Head Coach for the East Team at the 2017 McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago. Other accolades include the Oswald Tower Award for Professionalism and Ethics, multiple All-Scholastics in regional awards, and she was the first female president of the Massachusetts Basketball Coaches Association. Don’t forget that through all of this, she was an excellent and well-loved biology teacher at OAHS!
Next weekend Laney will be honored by Bridgewater State University, Dr. Frederick Clark, President, during Commencement Exercises at Gillette Stadium. As one of four honorees (Dr. Carlos Santiago, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Presley, and Ms. Barbara Stevens are the others) Laney will be recognized as a “stellar student athlete at BSU who went on to a much-heralded coaching career” and whose “record of accomplishment and sustained excellence is unsurpassed.”* President Clark’s message about all of the honorees says “This year we recognize leaders whose life’s work, whether done in the hallowed halls of Congress, basketball courts across the country, in our colleges and universities or on the streets, recognizes the inherent dignity of all persons and has been dedicated to lifting up all people and contributing to a more just, inclusive and equitable society.”*
Please join me in congratulating Elaine Clement-Holbrook as she receives the Bridgewater State University Honorary Degree and Distinguished Service Award. It is a well-deserved honor. The image below is from the OAHS 2006 Yearbook and highlights Laney as well as the 2006 State Champions!
Until next week,
(*Source: Generations of Service: The Retired Faculty Club of Bridgewater State University magazine.)
Happy Saturday! And a special Saturday it is!
In the 1976 Led Zeppelin film "The Song Remains The Same" Robert Plant quietly voices to his bandmates, "All right, here we go!" And here we go as we celebrate fully reopening the Museum this weekend! We will be here today, Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and tomorrow, Sunday, from 1-5 p.m. Come in and see our new look, new displays, and our newest addition, the 1899 Morse Car! I am looking forward to greeting you as we "get up to speed."
Rear view of our Morse! The engine is housed in the enclosure right behind the canopy.
New exhibits include the Morse family and information on the Morse autos!
Friday morning we hosted The Victorian Society, a summer program for architects, and with Professor Richard Guy Wilson from the University of Virginia led the group of about 30 people in a tour of the Richardson buildings and Unity Church. This is the first tour we have done for them in three years because of Covid. Several people from Europe, as well as one from the Netherlands, were part of this outstanding group.
Wishing you all the best, and hoping to see you soon,
Happy Saturday, and happy Graduation Day! Please join me in congratulating the Oliver Ames High School Class of 2022 as they receive their hard-earned and well-deserved diplomas today. Best wishes to the entire class, and to those graduating today who worked at the Museum: Eagle Scout Abram Kempner, Hannah Murphy, Antonia Ginis, and Lauren Gilgan!
Paul Berry suggested this week’s topic and supplied us with a copy of the old image. From 1893 to 1946, this is what you would have seen in the area nearly opposite 250 Main Street. “Sheep Pasture” was the Easton home of Oliver Ames (1864-1929) and his family. Son of Frederick Lothrop Ames, the Harvard graduate had a very successful career in finance, and even at a young age was able to negotiate with some of the most powerful and influential financial giants of his time. When his father died unexpectedly in 1893, young Oliver was given the task of settling his father’s estate, a duty he carried out with excellence.
In 1891 Oliver began purchasing land on the opposite side of Main Street from his father’s “Langwater” estate, and in a few years, completed the purchase of the land that would become his own estate. Though Frederick Law Olmsted was brought in to design the grounds, Oliver himself laid out the estate plots and buildings as he wanted. The locations of the Gate House, carriage house, barns, kennels, and other outbuildings were carefully chosen to be convenient to, but out of sight of the main house.
As you can see from the old photo, taken around 1915, the house sat near enough to the road to be a dominant landmark. Designed by the firm of Rotch and Tilden, the half-timbered style mansion overlooked a meadow that swept down towards the lower end of Queset River. At one time sheep grazed in this meadow, giving the house its name. Oliver Ames married Elise West in 1890. The many rooms of the house provided space for a growing family of four children (Elise, Olivia, Oliver, and Richard) and stories of growing up there as children are told by Mrs. Parker (Elise, who married William Parker) in the book Growing Up at Sheep Pasture.
The house stood until 1946. Oliver and Elise had passed away by then. Son Oliver died a hero in France during World War I, son Richard, a musician, died in France in the 1930’s. Olivia married Henry Cabot, and Elise after marrying William Parker, moved into her great-grandfather Oliver Ames II’s house “Unity Close.” Following their mother's death in 1945, the summer home at Pride’s Crossing was sold. The property at Sheep Pasture stood empty, and the house was vandalized until finally being torn down in 1946.
There is one other important feature in this photo. The very large outcropping of granite on the left had a flagpole on top and at the base, a hickory tree stood for many years. Father Oliver would blow a whistle there and his children would gather for outdoor walks and rides. From a very young age, the children were taught to appreciate the outdoors, and they spent a fair amount of time with family and staff learning about local flora and fauna. This experience would lead to something significant in the years ahead.
You might also note, in the old photo, the trolley tracks in the street. One of the nice features picked up here are the cobblestones that held the tracks in place.
Today, standing opposite the old main gate, the scene is very different. The wall that defined the entrance to the estate is still standing. The gates are new, but are of the same design as the originals. Gone is the flagpole and hickory tree. The house has been gone more years (76) than it existed (53) though the once finely manicured outdoor terrace is a gathering place for events and photos, with its beautiful view overlooking the meadow, where the Queset River still flows serenely on its path through South Easton. Rhododendrons, here and elsewhere on the drives through the estate, are a lovely site each summer. Trees and brush now obscure the view of the giant rock. However, in 1973, Mrs. Parker made the extraordinary donation of the property to the Natural Resource Trust of Easton, so that the property could continue as a working farm. There, children and residents would have the same opportunity she had as a child to discover the natural world and develop the same love for it that she had.
Wishing you all the best, and again with congratulations to our graduates,
Anne Wooster Drury