The Brooks Estate: A Gift from the Past, a Legacy for the Future

House

History and Architecture

The Brooks Estate was first settled in about 1660, and was transformed into a Victorian summer retreat by Peter Chardon and Shepherd Brooks. It is graced by two fine Victorian buildings: the Shepherd Brooks Manor and Carriage House (1880), both slated for adaptive re-use as community assets. More information.

Brooks pond

Open Space, Landscape, Habitat

The Brooks Estate offers acres of open space, walking trails, Brooks Pond and a unique historic landscape. It is also critical habitat for birds and small mammals. Visitors are welcome to walk the paths and enjoy the quiet and beautiful outdoors. More information.

Manor House detail

Preserving the Past / Restoring for the Future

Owned since 1942 by the City of Medford, the Brooks Estate was permanently protected in late 1998. Restoration of the landscape and historic buildings has been underway since then. For more on the restoration: Restoration update. Please support us: How you can help.

Brooks Estate Update: Late Winter 2017

2017 marks the 75th year of public ownership of the Brooks Estate! [The property was purchased in 1942 by the City of Medford.] M-BELT has been working for almost two decades on the preservation and restoration of this invaluable and unique community and environmental asset. As you might imagine, we hope this will be a banner year for progress on all fronts.

Carriage House stabilization - The fragile condition of the Carriage House was highlighted in the Brooks Estate Master Plan in 2012, and discussed on many occasions before and after the Plan was rejected in 2014. After several false starts, today we are happy to say that a remedy is in sight. CDR Maquire completed a detailed plan and estimate for the stabilization of the building which has been reviewed by City of Medford officials and our own Doug Carr. This stabilization work will ensure that the building remains standing while longer-term funding is secured for its complete restoration. Our understanding is that Mayor Stephanie Burke will request funding for this critical work from the Medford City Council. It is essential that the City Council pass the funding resolution. Please stay tuned for details.

On the land - This winter's two big storms transformed the landscape of the Estate into a winter wonderland. The trails have been enjoyed by hikers, skiers and visitors of all ages. The snow also brought some much-needed moisture. Brooks Pond looks a little better, but we could certainly use more rain in the coming weeks! A number of interesting birds have been sighted in recent days and we are hopeful that we'll see some serious nesting activity as spring comes into view.

At the Manor - Roof repairs and an upgrade of the internal water supply have been completed. The winter weather has delayed installation of snowguards and gutter work on the kitchen renovation is proceeding.

Capital Plan - At the request of Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke, we submitted a draft Capital Plan for the final restoration of the Brooks Estate in spring, 2016. (This parallels the Brooks Estate Master Plan to a goodly extent.) We believe the City of Medford's overall Capital Plan is in the works, but have not been apprised of the overall schedule. We anticipate further discussion and refinements accordingly. Again, stay tuned!

Partnership with Medford arts community - We have had several discussions with MACI (Medford Arts Center, Inc.) and planning to host an initial MACI event in late April at the Shepherd Brooks Manor. Details are not yet in place, but this is designed as an initial foray into a long-term partnership with the Medford arts community. We also plan to host a visit by MARV the Art Bus, MACI's exciting portable arts venue, at our Brooks Estate Picnic on July 8, 2017.

Spring Spruce-up - Our work day is scheduled for Saturday, April 29, 2017. See Events for details.

Medford CPA - The machinery to administer the Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding in Medford is in place, thanks to excellent work by volunteers and the Medford City Council. Historic preservation is one of the funding focuses of the CPA. We intend to be active in requesting appropriate funding when that process begins, but understand the wide range of community needs as the CPA gears up over the next year.

Come Visit Your Estate

Any time is a great time to visit -- the landscape changes with the seasons -- but the Brooks Estate is a perfect place to enjoy nature (and get a little exercise). For a Walking Map and Visitor Guide, please send an e-mail to Cloaking .

Thank you, Cummings Foundation!

We're on our final year of our 3-year Cummings Foundation grant and want to say "Thank you" again! Their support has been critical.

Cummings Foundation

For more information about the Cummings Foundation: www.cummingsfoundation.org

 

A New Brooks Estate Feature for Your Enjoyment!

Brooks Family Medford Heritage Trail

Doug Carr of M-BELT created (and premiered) the fabulous Brooks Family Heritage Trail in Medford, showing 15 sites connected to the Brooks family and their three century history in Medford. You may walk, bike or drive the Trail, starting at the Salem Street Burial Ground (Medford Square) and ending at the Brooks Estate on Grove Street. A handy Map accompanies each Guide.

Download the Trail Guide (long version) (PDF, 5.3 MB)

Download the Trail Guide (short version) (PDF 1.3 MB)

Map

Getting There

The Brooks Estate is located on Grove Street in Medford, MA, about 5 miles North of Boston, 0.8 mile north of High Street (Route 60). Park off Grove Street and walk in at green gate just north of Cemetery. (Do not park in the cemetery.) Detailed map.

On Foot -- accessible from Grove Street (green gate) or through Oak Grove Cemetery (from Playstead Road side.)

By Public Transit -- take 80 or 94 bus from Davis Square (Somerville) or 94 bus from Medford Square (Medford) to corner of Boston Avenue and High Street. Walk up Grove Street.

All Historic Photos on this site (except 1946 Santa) taken by Sarah Lawrence Brooks in the 1880s.