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: Early 2016 and a First Order of Business!

It is now 2016 -- M-BELT has been working to protect and restore this invaluable community asset for almost two decades. An amazing amount of progress has been made, but the historic buildings of the Brooks Estate are at a critical junction, particularly the Carriage House.

We developed a comprehensive Brooks Estate Master Plan that details the long-term vision for the Brooks Estate. The Plan was discussed for two years with the Medford City Council. Mayor Michael McGlynn proposed bond funding for the Brooks Estate, but that was rejected by the City Council in April, 2014.

Since then, some additional progress has been made on the historic Shepherd Brooks Manor, including a whole new South Verandah and a handicapped lift to the second floor. The Manor is not done yet, but is far along the path to restoration.

Carriage House at Great Risk!

The Carriage House, however, is a different story. As we noted in the Master Plan, this building will be the economic engine for the overall property, but a total restoration is required. Because of the rejection of the Master Plan, this has not been funded. Obviously, the Carriage House has needed to be stabilized until broader funding is forthcoming.

Moreover, during the Plan discussions in 2012-2014, and after April, 2014, we warned the City of Medford and the Medford City Council about the condition of the Carriage House. Two rounds of "temporary" repairs (one of which took place in the early 1990s!) have proven to be just that --- the winter of 2014/2015 was brutal and today the Carriage House roof is at serious risk of collapse if critical stabilization measures are not taken. For more, please see Carriage House 2016 (PDF 3.5MB)

To their credit, the City of Medford commissioned a detailed engineering report about the building and Mayor McGlynn requested $200,000 in funding to complete the stabilization work. The report is plain as day. The Medford City Council held a meeting on November 17, 2015 to discuss the situation, but has not yet acted on the request.

The Clock is Ticking....

Meanwhile, winter has arrived and the clock is still ticking....

As of January, 2016, Stephanie Muccini Burke is the new Mayor of Medford. At her transition team's request, we have submitted a list of critical goals for the Brooks Estate. For all of the above reasons, the Carriage House stabilization is first on the list. We look forward to working with Mayor Burke and the Medford City Council on resolving this critical matter. [We also look forward to your help! More soon...]

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.