Annual Letter to Members, 1994

Dear Friends of Hemlock Gorge:

At this time of Thanksgiving and Holiday cheer, we write to you to mark the end of another eventful year for the Friends and to appeal to you to renew your membership and your commitment to our activities in 1995.

Above all, we invite you to participate in our monthly meeting, held at 7:15 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month at the Emerson Community Center on Pettee Street in Newton Upper Falls. (Mark these upcoming dates: Dec. 6, Jan. 4, Feb. 1, Mar. 1, Apr. 5, and May 3!) Please do come to the next meeting; we need ideas and look forward to the pleasure of your company!

The following were among the activities sponsored, supported, and lobbied for by the Friends in 1994:

  • Spring and fall cleanups of the Reservation that were exceptionally well attended. We’re pleased to report that the Gorge is perhaps the tidiest it has been some time.
  • New security lighting for the Stone Building has been installed under the supervision of Ranger Rob McArthur.
  • As a direct result of the Friends’ efforts, particularly Brian Yates, the City of Newton has approved the creation of off street parking for Reservation visitors (at the intersection of Ellis and Boylston Streets). Approval of financing for the paving and fencing is now pending and anxiously awaited.
  • We have seen to the removal of graffiti on the bridge and on the Ellis Street underpass as soon as it appears.
  • We met at our March meeting with police representatives from both Newton and Needham who as a result have increased both their patrols and cooperative activities in the Reservation. Signage was placed giving the police authority to enforce restrictions on after dark trespassing.
  • The Friends manned a table at Newton’s Harvest Fair, gaining new members.
  • Ken Newcomb designed an emblem for Friends. This has been used by Mr. Adolph Passarini to create “Friends Buttons” that we hope to distribute and sell
  • A Summer Picnic was held in June. Ken Newcombe read excerpts from his forthcoming book on the history of the Upper Falls.
  • The Stone Barn Committee has been reorganized, is meeting monthly with Vaunita Schnell as chair, and has resumed its efforts to implement the architect’s plans for the structure. We welcome new participants!
  • The Mass. Water Resources Authority (MWRA) restored the wooden stairs that give access to the Bridge from Ellis Street.

Activities planned for the immediate future that require volunteers are numerous.

  • The Friends plan to construct a Bridge that we shall name the Friends’ Bridge. It will span the small raceway behind the Devil’s Den where a rustic bridge was once located. We plan to begin work next spring under the supervision of Rob McArthur.
  • We hope to accelerate plans to restore the ironwork on the Bridge and to reconstruct the Echo Platform.
  • As noted above: the restoration of the Ellis Stone Building, has entered a new phase with the architect’s com-pletion of the interior drawings and a landscaping proposal. The Stone Building subcommittee needs new members interested in this historically important restoration project.
  • Finally, we will need to continue all necessary lobbying efforts at Newton City Hall to see the off street parking site funded and completed.

None of these activities can or will take place, however, without your support. The financial needs of the Friends are few but important. Your dues pay for stationery, postage, and the buttons and T shirts that we sell at fund raisers. It also pays for our new post office box that will get your correspondence to our dedicated secretary, Hannah Sherman, faster and more reliably! Please take this opportunity to read the enclosed brochure, fill it out, and renew your membership for 1995 in whatever amount you can.

Whether you’re an active member, a member who may not have paid dues for 1994, someone who would like to join formally for the first time, or just a Friend, we welcome your response and participation. Because we want to inform as many members of the community as possible about our efforts, it’s not necessary to be a member in order to receive mailings, but we would like to know who is interested and who isn’t. Enclosed is an envelope complete with stamp and our NEW ADDRESS to make your response easy. Please fill out the enclosed membership card and return it with your preferences indicated. If you wish to join or renew, dues categories are listed on the card. Dues for 1995 can be paid now or at any meeting.

Thank you for your interest in the preservation of the Hemlock Gorge/Echo Bridge Reservation. We hope to see you in December.

With best wishes,

Vaunita Schnell, President

John P. Mordes, M.D., Membership Coordinator