If you drive down Grove Street, you may have noticed that work is underway at Thomas Brooks Park. There are two separate projects that are being completed by two different preservation professionals. Work is entirely funded by the City of Medford’s Community Preservation Committee and we thank them for their support.
Pomp’s Wall Restoration:
Masonry expert Richard McGrath of Lunenburg recently removed the capstones of the eighteenth century brick wall. This is the first step for conservation work. It revealed what we expected – extensive deterioration to the inside of the wall structure that must be repaired. This element is of special importance to Medford. It is one of two extant reminders of slavery. The bricks were assembled by Pompeii, a slave owned by Thomas Brooks. Pompeii and several other African Americans lived on the land that is now Thomas Brooks Park. The site was a gift to the City from the Brooks family with the stipulation that we forever care for wall then known as “The Old Slave Wall.”
Field Stone Wall Restoration:
Mark Neves of M. Neves, Inc. is responsible for the restoration of the granite field stone wall along the remainder of Grove Street. The wall was constructed in two different phases. The northern end is an eighteenth century feature, while the southern end is nineteenth century. The wall will be repaired to its historic height, and new openings placed at regular intervals opposite intersections. The intent is to make the park safer by directing users to locations where crosswalks would be found (for example, at street intersections). To facilitate work, a team of tree care specialists came through to remove dead or invasive vegetation within five feet of the backside of the wall. This has exposed many of the historic trees, that will remain. By removing some of the invasive, it will encourage the existing mature trees to grow. We are the stewards of these century old landmarks and we want nothing more than for them to thrive.
Work will continue over the next several months so stay tuned for additional updates!