A Walk Through the Parklands

                                                      Third Fireplace to Fourth Fireplace

    As you approach the Third Fireplace some Cutler Street houses come into view on the right. There are two picnic tables in
    the area, about 100 feet apart. One is badly damaged but the other is okay.  From the waters edge here, you can look across
    to Fisherman's  Island, where there is a stone shelter/fireplace. It was built in 1923.

    A little past the picnic area you'll come to an "intersection." The road to the left goes to the Rustic Bridge. The road to the right
    soon makes a left turn. You'll also see a path that heads more-or-less to the north. The path will bring you to the open side of
    the Fourth Fireplace and the road goes past the back side. If you continue along the road, you'll come to Hazel Street which
    leads up to Route 140 at Dorieann's Gift Shop.

    The Fourth Fireplace area was originally known, and occasionally still is, as Maroney's Grove. It was once a popular spot for
    family picnics, and I've even heard of people having anniversary parties there. The picnic area was built in 1901, and the
    fireplace in 1923. [My parents anniversary was the same as my aunt and uncle's - August 1. Every year we'd celebrate with a
    picnic in the Parklands. There would be about seven or eight adults and a dozen or so children. My father would pick
    different places for the picnic. I remember one being at Moroney's Grove, and one year my father borrowed a rowboat and
    we had our celebration at Fisherman's Island. Muriel (Henry) Tinkham, 2006] Click here for Muriel's story of growing up on a
    farm on Dutcher Street at the edge of the Parklands.

    From time to time trees have been planted in the Parklands. The Park Department history on their website mentions the
    planting of 12, 000 red and white pines, (1916 - to replace American chestnuts lost to the blight)), 1,500 Scotch pines,
    (1923), 500 pine and spruce, (1953), and 1,000 spruce, (1954). The area still has a good deal of white pine, as can be found
    in much of the rest of New England, but little evidence of the others. It seems that no matter what you plant, what grows here
    naturally is what survives. You can still find American chestnut here and there, but they seldom get to more than twenty feet
    when they're killed by the blight.

    I've heard more than one person ask if the Parkland fireplaces were Depression-era projects - CCC or WPA, maybe. No, no,
    no -- not a chance. Anything the Drapers didn't want to happen in Hopedale, didn't happen. The Republican Drapers didn't
    want anything to do with any New Deal projects.

    It seems that whenever Maroney's Grove (sometimes spelled Moroney's, as it is in the newspaper clippings below) is
    mentioned, someone will say, "Do you know about the spring?"  That seems to have been a popular attraction there. I know
    of a couple of nearby possibilities, but I've never been sure that I've found it. Extending from the area in front of the fireplace,
    going roughly toward the pond, there's a path. It crosses a brook (The spring??? Looks to me like it just comes out of a
    small swamp; not my idea of the pristine spring I've heard about.) and continues on for quite a distance. As you follow it, you
    can get a glimpse of the river (upstream from the Rustic Bridge, it is no longer a pond and it's probably even an exaggeration
    to call it a river) from time to time. Eventually you'll come out behind some of the businesses well up on Route 140. While the
    path continues for quite a distance, not far from Maroney's Grove, the Parklands territory ends and private property begins.
         
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The Third Fireplace

    The fork in the road near the Rustic Bridge. To the left, the bridge. To
    the right, the Fourth Fireplace and the end of the road at Hazel Street.

The Fourth Fireplace. (Click on picture for an older view.)
               
Next Page   The Parklands, west side of pond.

    Picnics such as this were enjoyed frequently
    in the Parklands years ago.

    In 2016, the Park Commission had the concrete blocks put
    into the fireplace until damage to the roof can be repaired.