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 under restoration. More information.
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.
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 is underway. For more on the restoration itself: Restoration update. Please support us: How you can help.
Please support the Brooks Estate now!
18 months have gone by and the Brooks Estate bond order has still not been voted on by the Medford City Council...
In March, 2012, The Mayor of Medford proposed $2.3M in bond funding for the Brooks Estate restoration. This must be passed by the Medford City Council, but the Council has done nothing to date...
The Brooks Estate is owned by the City of Medford (MA). We have been working to protect and restore this invaluable "jewel" for over ten years. We have created and presented the comprehensive Brooks Estate Master Plan (learn more or download the Master Plan below). We're doing our job!
We need your help to make progress!
1. Please send an e-mail to the Medford City Council at Cloaking Please urge them to finally schedule the vote on the Brooks Estate Bond order...any reasonable person would agree that more than enough time has passed...
2. Please send individual e-mails to these Councilors***, with your message: 1 - [if you are a Medford voter] please remind them how important this issue is to you as a voter: 2 - Ask them to bring the Brooks Estate bond order to a vote now and to vote "Yes."
*** Note: Councilor Penta is on the M-BELT Board; Council Pres. Maiocco and Councilor Camuso have recused themselves from voting on the Brooks Estate Bond Order.
3. If you are not on our e-mail list, please send us a message to Cloaking . We'll keep you updated.
4. As soon as we know that the bond vote has been scheduled and/or we are back on the Council’s agenda in the coming weeks, we'll let you know!
The Brooks Estate Master Plan
The Brooks Estate Master Plan details the long-term vision for the Brooks Estate, including the further restoration of the Shepherd Brooks Manor, Carriage House and the natural and historic landscape. The central goal of the Plan is to complete the basic restoration of the property to:
The Brooks Estate Master Plan is a careful, professional and conservative roadmap to ensure public benefit and long-term sustainability for the beautiful Brooks Estate.
The Brooks Estate Master Plan was provided to the Medford City Council, the City of Medford, and the public in January, 2012. It is also available on this Web site (see below).
Overview of the Brooks Estate Master Plan Please click here: Master_Plan_Overview.pdf
Complete Brooks Estate Master Plan
This is a large document and has been broken into sections - click on any section to read/download in pdf format:
1 - Intro and Table of Contents (255 KB)
Planning Moves Ahead for Brooks Estate Improvements Funded by Cummings Foundation
We're now working on the plans for the first phase of improvements to the Verandah, Parlor, and Manor Yard, funded with the generous support of the Cummings Foundation. This includes detailed drawings and plans, re-creation of the 1900 Verandah side windows, floorboards and ceiling work, wood trim, work on the Parlor door, and related design and functional elements. Our goal is to have a useful and beautiful Verandah for public benefit. These costs are part of the overall Brooks Estate Master Plan. As noted earlier, M-BELT is contributing other funds and covering overhead.
From the earlier grant announcement:
"We are very grateful for the support of the Cummings Foundation. This grant will help us move forward with our mission to fully restore the Brooks Estate for public benefit, and fulfill the promise of the Brooks Estate Master Plan," noted Tom Lincoln, M-BELT President. Lincoln went on to say, "The grant will allow us to make key parts of the Manor and the yard useful and flexible space to benefit Medford residents. We are also delighted at this endorsement of our longstanding work on behalf of this community resource and hope it spurs further support from our partners here in Medford and beyond."
The grant funds will be applied "to the renovation of the historic Shepherd Brooks Manor, to be used for community meetings, outdoor activities, and event space." The Shepherd Brooks Manor was built in 1880 and is a Victorian mansion (Queen Anne style) surrounded by a large yard. At the south end of the house is a large parlor and the outdoor verandah, both connected to the South Lawn.
All are ideal for indoor and outdoor meetings and events. Funds will be used to restore and improve these spaces. The Brooks Estate is owned by the people of Medford, and M-BELT works in partnership with the City of Medford. The property is protected by a permanent Conservation and Preservation Restriction.
The grant-funded projects are key components of the Brooks Estate Master Plan, M-BELT's comprehensive roadmap for the Brooks Estate. The Master Plan includes restoration plans, financial costs, and a business plan with income and expenses and was developed at no cost to the City of Medford.
More information about the Cummings Foundation is at 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)
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.