Community Brainstorm Emphasizes Preserving Ecology of Indian Line Farm
Canton, Massachusetts, April 3, 2009 – Last night, over 50 people attended a Community Meeting at the Bradley Estate to brainstorm how the portion of Blue Hills Reservation called Indian Line Farm could best meet the community’s open space needs.
Participants at the well-attended event, organized by Friends of the Blue Hills (FBH) and The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR), included Robert McKenzie from the Department of Conservation and Recreation and Vice Chair of the Canton Board of Selectman, Avril Elkort. Attendees demonstrated enthusiasm for preserving the ecologic value of this 44-acre parcel, located within the State-designated Ponkapoag Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Other themes that emerged from the session included the desire for trails or bike paths that would connect the Ponkapoag section to the rest of the Blue Hills. Participants envisioned this property that borders Route 138, near the intersection of Route 128, as serving as a “Gateway to Canton,” highlighting the natural beauty of the meadows and forested areas that can be seen as drivers enter the town.
Indian Line Farm, a 44-acre parcel of land within the Blue Hills Reservation, has a rich history reaching back to the 1600s, when it was on the northern line of a “praying town” of the Ponkapoag Native American group. Much later, in the 1920s it was purchased by Albert Whittier, brother of prominent Boston realtor C.W. Whittier, who built a dairy farm on the property.
In the 1940s the land was purchased by Tobe Deutschmann, a founder of the Radio Shack electronics chain. Mr. Deutschmann’s experimenting in the barn contaminated the site with PCBs and heavy metals. After learning of the contamination, the Commonwealth purchased the land in 1984 and finished cleanup of the site in 2006.
“Without trails or parking, the property is rather hard to access now,” says Wayne Beitler, Community Conservation Specialist for The Trustees of Reservations. “But as people at tonight’s meeting demonstrated, there’s a real interest in protecting this land for public use and enjoyment.”
“This is only one step in the process to engage the public,” added Peter Jeffries, President of the Friends of the Blue Hills. “We intend to continue this conversation with people in the community before we develop a proposal for this property.” The goal of this initiative is work with the Department of Conservation and Recreation to develop and implement a plan for the property that reflects community concerns and recommendations.