Annual Letter to Members, 1996

Dear Friends of Hemlock Gorge:

At this time of Thanksgiving and Holiday Cheer, we write to you again 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 1997.

Above all else, we invite you to participate in our monthly meeting held, unless otherwise noted, 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 1997 dates: Jan 7, Feb. 4, Mar. 4, Apr. 1, May 6, June 3, Sept. 9, Oct 7, Nov. 11, and Dec. 2!) Please do come to our 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 1996:

  • Our outstanding achievement in 1996 was the beautification and dedication of the long awaited parking lot at the corner of Ellis Street and the Route 9 off ramp. This small but much needed lot had been built as a direct result of advocacy by the Friends. We hope that all of you will share our delight in this civic improvement. The Friends contributed $400 towards the cost of planting flowers and a tree around the lot. The Upper Falls CDC matched this amount. The landscaping plan was designed by Kenn Eisenbraun of the Newton Planning Department. Kevin R. Hollenbeck of the MDC purchased the flowers, tree, and other supplies to implement the plan. The Friends joined the MDC staff in the actual planting in the spring.
  • Cleanups of the Reservation were well attended. We’re pleased to report that the Gorge remains well cared for and tidy.
  • Legislation to improve the Stone Building sponsored by Representatives Kay Khan and Lida Harkins and Senator Lois Pines was approved by the State Legislature.
  • We have seen to continuing removal of graffiti on the bridge and on the Ellis Street underpass as soon as it appears.
  • MDC Site Supervisor Kevin R. Hollenbeck has attended most of our meetings. He has been active in our clean-ups and as noted above purchased flowers and a tree for the Reservation’s new parking lot. We look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with him.
  • State Representative Kay Khan continues to take an active interest in the Friends and their activities. She remains committed to providing for care and maintenance not only of the Gorge but also of the riverbank along Quinobequin Road.
  • Finally, we are delighted to announce that a Friends of Hemlock Gorge World Wide Web Home Page has been established. The URL is This page will eventually list our scheduled activities, offer some graphical images of the Reservation, and provide an archive of our activities. The City of Newton now has an official home page, and we hope to be linked with it and with other conservation organizations in the first half of 1997
  • Activities planned for the immediate future that require volunteers are numerous.
  • We will work with the Mass. Water Resources Authority to restore the ironwork on Echo Bridge and to reconstruct the Echo Platform.
  • We will continue to work on the restoration of the Ellis Stone Building off Route 9. The Stone Building subcommittee needs new members interested in this historically important restoration project.
  • The Friends still hope 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.
  • Finally, we will redouble our efforts in the legislature to generate the funding and the mandates needed to maintain and preserve Hemlock Gorge, Echo Bridge, and the associated MDC properties downstream.

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, the Web site, and the buttons and T shirts that we sell as fund raisers. Dues also pay for our post office box that now gets your correspondence to us quickly and reliably! Please take this opportunity to read the enclosed brochure, fill it out, and renew your membership for 1997 in whatever amount you can.

Whether you’re an active member, a member who may not have paid dues for 1996, 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 complete 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 1997 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 on January 7, 1997.

With best wishes,

Brian Yates, President

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