Engineering News

Engineering Knowledge, Engineering Note, Engineering Video, Engineering Images

Engineering Note

Ames, Oakes and Blanche, Borderland, Pool, Swimming 259 Massapoag Avenue, North Easton, MA, info, Easton Historical Society

Ames, Oakes and Blanche, Borderland, Pool, Swimming 259 Massapoag Avenue, North Easton, MA, info, Easton   Historical Society

More information on this image is available at the Easton Historical Society in North Easton, MA
.
Pool, The Swimming, Oakes Ames with grandchildren, 259 Massapoag Avenue, North Easton, MA, 1948, info, Easton Historical Society
.
The development by Oliver Ames and Sons Corporation of the factory and village land use in a rather organic manner with a mix work-related classes created an integrated geographic network. The housing on perimeter edge with factories and business affairs in the center creating the village concept in North Easton. Other important concepts were the Furnace Village Cemetery, Furnace Village Grammar School and the Furnace Village Store, which explains Furnace Village and other sections of Easton.
source: Massachusetts Historical Commission
,
History of Massapoag Avenue and Borderland Historic District below
,
System of Ponds, Brooks and Streams at Borderland
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the large, grassy fields were cleared by the Wilbur, Tisdale, Smith, Currivan and Leach families. In 1825, General Sheperd Leach found a swamp where he started mining iron ore for his iron business. Starting in 1906, Oakes and Blanche Ames started to create Borderland by buying multiple parcels of land. They took care about the use of the landscape, including the creation of several ponds and waterways to enhance the natural beauty. Oakes and Blanche created the ponds for recreational and agricultural uses and, earlier, General Sheperd Leach used the pond for water supply for industrial purposes. The pond area was part of a stream running from Lake Massapoag through Borderland where the eighteenth-century sawmill and nineteenth-century nail factory had its operations. In the History of Easton, written by William L. Chaffin in 1886, Rev. Chaffin wrote, – The larger of the two branches that unite to form it is Poqnanticut Brook, or River, the branch at the west. This stream rises in Sharon, about two miles north of Abijah Tisdale’s, flows through Wilbur’s Pond, crosses Rockland Street at the Archippus Buck place, receives a tributary where it crosses Massapoag Avenue, flows southeasterly and supplies the reservoir built by General Sheperd Leach west of the Easton furnace, Wilbur’s Pond is, however, only partly made by the water from this stream. Another brook of about the same dimensions’ flow into this pond on the east. This brook rises in Sharon and Stoughton, in swampy, springy land near the Bay road about a mile above Easton, it had a sufficient water-supply once to have several mills upon it, Briggs’s cotton-twine factory was one, and there was a cotton-batting factory lower down, near the road by the Tisdale cemetery; and still lower down, where it enters Easton, was a saw-mill, probably owned one hundred and forty years ago by Jedediah Willis, who lived five or six rods from it, his house being within the Easton line, and the mill in Sharon. These two streams both flowed into the Poquanticut Cedar-Swamp, where Wilbur’s Pond today is. They united in the swamp, the main outlet for the swamp being the same as the outlet for the pond, namely, Poquanticut Brook. – During this time, history shows Leach used part of a brook which was part of the Poquanitcut Cedar Swamp to build a dam, creating Wilbur’s Pond, today known as Leach’s Pond, covering one hundred and ten acres of area. Cart ways to and from the lowlands were used in his mining operations, including some cart ways in the waters of Leach’s Pond. Prior to ownership of the land by Oakes and Blanche Ames, water on the Poquanticut Brook was created into water power for the Jedediah Willis’ Sawmill, followed by the Briggs Nail Factory in the area of Pud’s Pond. In 1908, a dam named Selee Dam or Sawmill Dam was noted on a Hayward map near this area. Like Oakes and Blanche Ames did on their estate, the water power was channeled by building dams along the waterways. Historians have difficulties in defining historic features, as few parts of the land are located over one thousand feet from wetlands. The drainage system in northern part of the land is divided between the Taunton River and the Neponset watersheds. The southern part is mostly drained by the Poquanticut Brook and streams. The layout of the land includes a mix of ponds and streams, dense woodlands, open fields with garden ponds, evergreen shrubbery and stone work. In 1906, Oakes and Blanche Ames built Pud’s Pond with dams, spillways and a piping valve process. The pond was named after Blanche’s grandfather, whose nickname was Pud. The creation of Pud’s Pond was the start of using the property for a recreation use. In 1926, Oakes and Blanche Ames’ son, Amyas, rebuild the dam as the pond was used for fishing and swimming for their children and friends. Oakes Ames noted in his diary that he was working with his son, Oliver Ames, building brooks, streams and ponds at Borderland. In 1939, their son, Oliver Ames built Turkey Pond and Four Day Pond with dams and started building a dam between Upper Leach Pond and Lower Leach Pond which was finished in 1940. Upper Leach Pond, located west of the Tisdale House at 697 Mountain Road, was a meadow before it became a pond consisting just over twenty-five acres of lowland. The pond built by Oakes and Blanch Ames created just over one-hundred sixty-three acres of pond space with seven dams within the network. Oakes and Blanche Ames wanted their children and grandchildren to be able to use the estate for ice skating, swimming, boating, and fishing. Blanche Ames, using her engineering mind, designed a plan of valves and piping to clean water from the streams for the swimming pool located at the bottom of the hill southeast of the Mansion. Using the network of streams and ponds, she was able to create controls to maintain water levels of the various pools of water for recreational use by her children and grandchildren. When Blanche Ames died in 1969, she left the seventeen hundred and eighty-two acres estate to her four children, who conveyed the property to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1971 following the wishes of the Ames family for a passive state park.
source; Massachusetts Historical Commission
source; Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Conservation and Recreation
source; Borderland State Park
source: Easton’s Neighborhoods, Edmund C. Hands, 1995
source: History of Easton, William L. Chaffin, 1886
,
Mansion at Borderland
Like other members of the Ames family in Easton building estates with multiple parcels of land, Oakes and Blanche Ames acquired twenty-seven individual properties to create the seventeen hundred and eighty-two-acre estate. The parcels of land were divided by stonewalls, wire fences, open spaces and forests. Borderland got its name from the location of both ancient tribal borders and modern-day town lines. In 1878, Blanche Ames, born in Lowell, her parents, Adelbert and Blanche Butler Ames, encouraged Blanche toward a higher education and equal opportunity. Exploring fresh opportunities in the Ames tradition, Blanche enrolled in Smith College, when few women attended college and gave the commencement address at her 1899 graduation exercises. In her address being attended by President McKinley, Blanche told the audience that we are fortunate to live in an age that, more than any other, makes it possible for women to attain the best and truest development in life. Blanche Ames’ husband, Oakes Ames, a member of the Ames family, owners of the Oliver Ames and Sons Corporation at 28 Main Street in North Easton. The son of Governor Oliver Ames, (1831-95) and his wife, Anna Coffin Ames (1840-1917), a great-grandson of shovel shop founder Oliver Ames (1779-1863), Oakes Ames was born in 1874.
In 1900, Oakes Ames grew up at 35 Oliver Street, married Blanche Ames, sister of his classmate Butler Ames of Lowell, two years after graduating from Harvard. On October 22, 1895, Oakes’ father, Oliver Ames, of 35 Oliver Street, passed away. In 1900, Oakes and Blanche Ames began their marriage by living at his childhood home at 35 Oliver Street in North Easton with his widowed mother, Anna Coffin Ames, his two sisters, Evelyn C., and Susan E. Ames. Later, Oakes and Blanche Ames were living at 355 Commonwealth Avenue, the former home of Oakes’ father, Governor Oliver Ames. Oakes and Blanche moved to 225 Bay State Road, also in Boston’s fashionable Back Bay neighborhood. While living on Bay State Road, they began planning for a country estate south of Boston.
In 1906, Oakes and Blanche Ames began their purchases and lived at the newly purchased Col. Israel Tisdale Farmhouse, at 697 Mountain Street in Sharon, located at the northeast of the existing Leach Pond. In 1906, Alice Buck Pratt, of 111 Rockland Street, sold the land to Oakes Ames in two parcels, on the northwest corner of Rockland Street and Allen Road. The first parcel consisted of sixty-nine and one-quarter acres that reserved the William Dean Cemetery – as it is today walled in – and the right to pass to and from the burial ground to Rockland Street. The second parcel was a seventeen and three-quarter acres parcel on the south side of Rockland Street. According to Anna Buck, one of George and Marion Buck’s thirteen children, her records verify Oakes and Blanche Ames rented 111 Rockland Street, her father’s childhood home, to Anna Buck’s family after they returned to Easton in 1911. In 1910, residing at the formerly called Col. Israel Tisdale Farmhouse at 697 Mountain Street were Oakes, a botanist, and his wife, Blanche B. Ames, with their two daughters, Pauline, Evelyn, their two sons, Amyas, and Oliver Ames, with seven servants. By 1910, Oakes and Blanche B. Ames purchased surrounding individual parcels, including a place called – Borderland, – which they called home. There they raised turkeys, pheasants, mink, and cattle. In 1910, the construction of the Mansion started with the building of the library. Blanche calculated the engineering measurements for the causeways and dams built on the ponds surrounding the Mansion. Ames Mansion was constructed on the site of the Currivan farmhouse, which was composed of larger stones and are slightly square. The stonewall running along the original entrance easterly, today a service driveway, continued across the lawn on the south side of the Mansion. Oakes and Blanche Ames used some of the field stones in the construction of the Mansion. Stonewalls in the other parcels were a rougher and round stone configuration. Blanche and Oaks, who wanted a fireproof house, became displeased with the work of their architect because of the challenges he faced with their design and engineering requirements. Dismissing the architect, Blanche took over the design and construction management of the Mansion and hired the Concrete Engineering Company to draw plans according to her specifications. In 1920, residing in the Mansion at 257 Massapoag Avenue were Oakes, a professor of botany, and his wife, Blanche B. Ames, an artist in her own home, with their two daughters, Pauline, and Evelyn, and their two sons, Amyas, and Oliver Ames, with six servants and two chauffeurs. Blanche Ames calculated the engineering measurements for the causeways and dams built on the ponds surrounding the mansion. Once the mansion was completed, Blanche set up a full-size studio on the third floor of the house and maintained a workshop in which she and her brother, Adelbert Ames, developed a scientific color system for mixing paints. Blanche became the sole illustrator of her husband’s botanical books, including a seven-volume treatise on orchids. Oaks Ames was a renowned authority on orchids and taught botany at Harvard from 1900 until his retirement in 1941. The rear of the Mansion had the tennis courts, rolling hills towards the fields and pool. The Mansion at Borderland featured landscaping around the immediate grounds. In 1930, living at 257 Massapoag Avenue were Oakes, a Professor of Botany at Harvard, and his wife, Blanche B. Ames, an artist in her Iron Studio, with their daughter, Evelyn, and their two sons, Amyas, and Oliver Ames, assistant manager at the Ames Shovel and Tool Company, Inc., with two servants. Plantings around the house include shrubs and shade trees and perennial flowers. A vegetable garden was located to the west of the house. The garden was bordered by raspberry bushes running along the tree line of the fields. Oaks and Blanche created a system of ponds and dams throughout their estate. The sculpted hedge along the circular drive was destroyed in the Blizzard of 1978, which was restored at the direction of Pauline Plimpton, Oakes and Blanche’s daughter. A formal rock garden, designed by Oakes Ames, was built to the north of the house, complete with stone paths, steps, and benches. In the 1970s, under the direction of Oakes and Blanche’s grandson, T. P. Plimpton, the rock garden was reconstructed with some of the original flowering trees. These include flowering crab trees, dogwoods, lilac, forsythia, and burning bush. The reconstruction was a recreation of the historic planting plan by Oakes Ames. In the center of the rock garden is a wooden trellis set on granite columns, on which climbs Borderland’s Great Wisteria. The circulation system of the Ames estate also remains intact, including the circular drive in front of the Mansion and several unpaved roads throughout the former estate. Oakes Ames was the youngest son of Governor Oliver and Anna C. Ames and was well known for his botanist and orchid expertise. At the age of fifteen, Oakes took an interest in orchids while studying in Easton on the origin of plant life in different regions or times. Following his graduation from Harvard in 1898, Oakes started the Ames Botanical Laboratory at Harvard, becoming a world-known center for the study of orchids and economic botany. In 1900, Oakes Ames started teaching in the field of botany at Harvard. Later, Oakes became Research Professor and Director of the Botanical Museum until his retirement in 1941. Blanche Ames; a scientific illustrator provided the illustrations for her husband’s book on orchids. Blanche Ames, was a multi-talented inventor and illustrator, who was involved in art, farming, engineering and politics.
Blanche Ames was a suffragist, an early advocate of birth control, and late in life Blanche wrote a biography of her father, Adalbert Ames. Blanche Ames was interested in farming working with the staff of the Borderland estate and devised plans for developing a larger, more disease-resistant turkey. Blanche was the co-founder of the Birth Control League of Massachusetts and the Treasurer of the League of Women Voters from 1915 to 1918. Blanche was well known for her political cartoons depicting the struggle for women’s suffrage. In 1939, Blanche, an inventor designed a hexagonal lumber cutter. In 1940, residing at 257 Massapoag Avenue were Oakes, a professor of botany, and his wife, Blanche B. Ames, with a son, Oliver Ames, a trustee, and one housekeeper. During World War II, Blanche Ames designed, tested and patented a method for ensnaring enemy airplanes in wires hung from balloons. It must be noted in history that Blanche Ames painted every painting in the mansion with one exception. In 1969, Blanche Ames received a patent for a water anti-pollution device. Borderland’s grounds were used in Massachusetts State Lottery commercials that showed men playing croquet on the lawn. Born in fresh York City in 1927, George Plimpton, son of Pauline Ames Plimpton, who was the daughter of Oakes and Blanche Ames, spent summers during his childhood at Borderland. George had a sister, Sarah Gay Plimpton, two brothers, Francis Taylor Pearsons Plimpton Jr., and Oakes Ames Plimpton. During the formative years of Borderland becoming a state park, Oakes Plimpton was a frequent visitor to the park noting the progress from an estate to a passive state park. George Plimpton, co-founder of the Paris Review, was known for his efforts in sports with the Detroit LIons in – Paper Lions, – Boston Bruins in – Open Net, – Willie Mays in – Out of My League, – pro golf in – Bogey Man, – and fought Archie Moore and Sugar Ray Robinson for articles in the Sports Illustrated. George was a classmate at Harvard University of Robert Kennedy and helped get the gun away from Sirhan Sirhan when Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. A television documentary about Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt was filmed in the library of the Ames mansion. When Blanche Ames died in 1969, she left the seventeen hundred and eighty-two acres estate to her four children, who conveyed the property to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1971 following the wishes of the Ames family for a passive state park.
source; Massachusetts Historical Commission
source; Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Conservation and Recreation
source; Borderland State Park
source: History of Easton, William L. Chaffin, 1886
source: Easton’s Neighborhoods, Edmund C. Hands, 1995
source; Massachusetts Historical Commission
source: Easton Patch, Michael Hardman, May 16, 2013
,
Borderland Historic District
The Borderland Historic District in Easton/Sharon, Massachusetts is a twentieth-century estate preserving eighteenth-century farmland, forest, and waterways. The district, today largely Borderland State Park, includes several farm buildings, farmland, cemeteries and a 20th century estate, complete with mansion, pool (today filled in), gardens, and lawns. Located on the borders between Easton, Sharon, and Stoughton, the area has changed from tribal land of Native Americans to farmland of early settlers to the country estate of Oakes and Blanche Ames. The district as it stands today is largely defined being open fields, man-made ponds, stonewalls, and other site features.
source: Massachusetts Historical Commission
,
Further down the brook (from Puds Pond), General Shepherd Leach, owner of the Furnace Village Iron Works in South Easton, cut down a stand of white cedar and mined the bog-iron ore from the exposed swamp. In 1825, he built the pond that bears his name to ensure a steady water supply for his iron works three miles downstream
source; Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Conservation and Recreation
source; Borderland State Park
,
Massapoag Avenue
Massapoag Avenue extends from Poquanticut Avenue, past No. Six Schoolhouse, to the Sharon line. The part north of Rockland Street was laid out in 1824, and after some delay was adopted. The rest of it was finally laid out in 1834.
source: History of Easton, William L. Chaffin, 1886

Comment here