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A Letter from the Friends of Maudslay President


March 15, 2021

Dear Friends of Maudslay,

 

The snowfall this winter has gifted us hours of fun in the park.  After each storm, the parking lot has filled with snowshoers, cross country skiers, walkers and even bikers, all eager to be the first to blaze a trail through the freshly fallen snow.  But alas, the past few weeks have been more than disappointing as the snow melts, the trails get worn down to mud or packed into icy patches and the terrain is difficult to negotiate.  

 

But if one can look up from the trails, there is the promise of spring everywhere you look.  The buds on the trees and the bulbs in the ground are beginning to swell, promising the beauty of daffodils, snowdrops and a multitude of other bulbs in April, dogwoods and azaleas in May and rhododendrons and Mountain Laurels in June.  Birds are returning to the park to lay claim to areas for nesting.  Other wildlife are in their mating season, and we are promised glimpses of fawns, kits and pups in the summer months.  In this month of March, after the most difficult year many of us have ever faced, we can feel in our bones that a few short weeks will bring us spring, and all the renewal that it symbolizes.

 

The Friends of Maudslay Board has been busy during these winter months revising the By-laws, creating a new membership envelope, and fine tuning our new logo.  The Department of Conservation and Recreation is also moving forward with projects that have been in the works for several years.  You will first see your donation dollars at work in the reconstruction of the brick wall in the Italian Gardens.  The project will likely start in the month of April and the estimated date for completion will be June 30.  During that time, the garden will be closed to the public.  When it reopens, the Garden Committee will be hard at work weeding and planting so that there is the usual display of beautiful flowers for the remainder of the summer.  We are currently raising money for a 2:1 partnership match with DCR hoping to fund the remaining wall repair in 2022.  In this phase, we anticipate the repair of the exterior walls of the garden as well as a more historical reconstruction, hoping to replace the urns that were part of the original design and possibly even the beautiful iron gates.  
 

 

Next will come the reconstruction of the dam, which will also be largely funded by Friends of Maudslay membership donations.  The starting date for the dam work is still to be determined.  Any  construction that affects the local wildlife and the Merrimack River is closely monitored and we are awaiting approval from several agencies before work can commence, likely sometime between July and the fall of 2021. Access to the dam section of the pond area will be closed to the public for approximately three months from the start of construction.

 

Each year at this time we ask you to renew your support for the Friends of Maudslay through your membership donations of any amount - truly any dollar donation is appreciated.  Neither the brick wall reconstruction nor the dam project would be possible without your membership dollars and donations, and you will be able to see the true value of your donations when these jobs are completed in 2021 and 2022.

 

The Annual Meeting of the Membership will be held on March 25 via Zoom at 6:30 pm.  If, as a member, you are interested in attending the meeting, please send an email to info@friendsofmaudslay.org and you will be sent a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before.  At the meeting, members will be voting on the composition of the Board for May 2021 through March 2022.  Nominations will be presented at the meeting.

 

Thank you again for your support of the Friends of Maudslay.  In the coming year, even more than in most, you will see your donations dollars hard at work, preserving our beautiful park for many generations to come!

 

Sincerely,

Marlys Edwards

President, Friends of Maudslay

Garden Committee Volunteer at Maudslay – Amy King


 
Amy King joined the Garden Committee in 2008 and served on the Association’s Board for 2 years. It was her love of gardening, historic properties and the flexible volunteer schedule that drew her to the group. In October 2008, the Committee installed a new wall fountain to replicate the original one, so Amy’s focus became maintaining the fountain and learning all about the solar powered battery.  When growth of trees made solar energy less effective,  Amy was instrumental in converting the fountain’s power source to a low voltage electrical line resulting in more consistent operation of the fountain. Many Monday mornings, we can see that Amy has worked her magic with the fountain over the weekend, keeping it clean and smoothly running, and training other volunteers to maintain it.  Whenever visiting the Italian Gardens, the beautiful sound of the trickling fountain is due, in large part, to Amy’s hours of dedication.
 

 
 
Amy can trace her love of gardening to her mother, an avid gardener who was fluent in botanic Latin.  As a child, countless hours were spent tending a vegetable garden, perusing local nurseries and watching PBS’ Victory Garden. Boxwood have always been one of Amy’s favorite shrubs and her small south end yard features 5 varieties, so it’s no wonder that tending to Maudslay’s boxwood, with their shapely clipped rows, is a source of joy. You can see that dedication in the beautiful hedges that define the beds in the garden.

 
 
Amy spent her professional career working in advertising and corporate marketing but if she had to do it all over again she would have been a farmer or landscape architect. Volunteering at Maudslay allows Amy to connect with nature and meet others who like to get their hands dirty, while helping to keep a significant piece of our local history intact.  Be sure to say hello if you see her tending the gardens.  Volunteers do appreciate the frequent thank yous that come from passers-by.
 

 
Moulton Castle  
It stood on a pine fringed hill-top
O’er looking the ancient town
And the winding course of the river;
That turreted castle brown.
For more than a generation
It guarded the country-side
The city and bay and islands,
And the marshes low and wide.
  • Charles Clinton Jones
 
 
The Moulton name has been associated with the Newburys since its 17th century beginnings. Its fame was generated by the six generations of talented silversmiths who created sterling silverware for 200 years. The Moulton name became a central focus again in Newburyport in 1866, when Captain Henry William Moulton built Moulton Castle, his Gothic style home at the very top of  what is still known today as Moulton hill.
 

When Moulton returned to Newburyport after fighting in the Civil War, he bought a house on High Street and invested in local real estate, including several acres at the end of Ferry Road. In 1865 he was elected to be a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. In 1866, he began to build his spectacular, wooden, Gothic-style home on the highest point of the Ferry Road land. The building was three stories high, with 22 rooms; its mass punctuated by two towers that looked out over the Merrimack River and Amesbury’s Point Shore. Townspeople called the extravaganza Moulton Castle.
 

In 1869, soon after the house was completed, President Ulysses Grant appointed Moulton as U.S. Marshall for Idaho, and he and his family moved to Idaho for four years. While he was gone, Sir Edward Thornton, the British consul to the United States, summered at the castle. His was the only other family to live there.
 
Moulton enjoyed hosting parties and sharing the spectacular views from his hilltop
home. His favorite party was a reunion of the surviving soldiers of the 32nd Regiment of the Massachusetts Infantry, where he had served as captain. Another unforgettable soiree was for 500 guests, including dignitaries and government officials.
 
Moulton ultimately moved to a house on the corner of Moulton Street and Moseley Avenue in 1892. He died four years later, at the age of 63, and is buried in Belleville Cemetery. His only son died in childhood and there was no male heir to inherit the property.
 
Financier Charles W Moseley bought the property and tore it down in December 1900. All that is left today are horticultural clues and semi-buried stonework. Some find it one of the most evocative spots in Maudslay State Park.


 
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