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Ground prepared and marked for the construction of Bussey Hill Road

Bussey Hill Rd. Const. Ca. 1890. Color slide made from photograph by Sheila Connor, 1981-08 [Title from recto of slide.] 35 mm. slide. Emulsion on polyester.

Roads, fall, Bussey Hill Road, construction, 1890

Alternate Title: Ground prepared and marked for the construction of Bussey Hill Road
Photograph by Boston Parks Commission, Boston, MA, United States
Bussey Hill Road, Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, United States
October 1890

A larger version of this image is available in Harvard University’s HOLLIS+ catalog.

The initial construction of Arnold Arboretum roads and gates by City of Boston engineers took place from 1883 to 1894.

Bussey Hill is named in honor of Benjamin Bussey (1757–1842), a New England merchant, farmer, and mill owner whose Woodland Hill estate formed the nucleus of Arnold Arboretum land in the form of The Bussey Institution in addition to the financial bequest of James Arnold (1781-1868), another successful merchant of the era.

In 1882, the first director of the Arboretum Charles Sprague Sargent finalized an unprecedented partnership between The City of Boston and Harvard College whereas the Arboretum would become part of the “Emerald Necklace” park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Under the terms of this agreement, the city agreed to lease Arboretum land to Harvard College for 1,000 years with the right to renew for another 1,000 at the rate of one dollar per year. Also laid out under the conditions of the lease was the Arboretum’s responsibility to manage the landscape and to acquire, grow, and curate a comprehensive collection of hardy woody plants for research and education, while the City would maintain the hardscape, roads, sidewalks, boundary fences and gates, and provide security.

This arrangement, of course, continues to this day, and The Arnold Arboretum will celebrate its sesquicentennial in 2022.

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