Hey, there! Log in / Register

When kids kept drowning in a pond in the Arboretum and Harvard kept doing nothing

The Crimson recounts the history of Muddy Pond, which used to be in the "wild" side of the Arnold Arboretum, between South Street and Washington Street, which kept proving a death trap and which Harvard only finally did something about when the city started talking about taking the land by eminent domain to fix the problem.

Free tagging: 

Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!


It's not apparent from the article - it doesn't seem the author is aware - but none of the land the Arboretum sits on is owned by Harvard. The land is City of Boston property leased to Harvard for $1 a year. The lease runs for 1000 years (beginning from the late 1800s).


Not sure about what's now called Bussey Brook Meadow, across South Street, which might have been a separate land donation. But in any case, it's not like Boston has anything at all to do with the operation of the arboretum or the maintenance of the land.


was absorbed into the indenture of the Arboretum. A short history: https://www.arboretumparkconservancy.org/about-us/history/

Plans are well underway for a new path to connect the end of Arboretum Rd. with the meadow and the South Street Gate: https://www.arboretumparkconservancy.org/new-path-project/

At one point, the MBTA was eyeing the property to make a bus yard.


I was in the southern Arbs yesterday and there are some spectacularly large paper wasp nests hanging in the trees, each carefully cordoned off by thoughtful staff. Very cool to see, unless you have [consults Google] spheksophobia.


They're quite impressive, and if you ever get the chance to watch one close-up, keep an eye on the "guards" at the nest entrance. It's interesting to watch them check over each new arrival, and sometimes do a quick swap of who's on guard duty. It's also *super* interesting to watch them build the nest by spitting out wood pulp.

(Some people claim they're super aggressive, but I've watched a nest from 5 feet away and only got head-butted by the hornets. That's apparently a signal meaning "you're too close, bub". I didn't know it at the time, but they never progressed beyond warnings. I guess knowing that, I wouldn't watch from any closer than 8-10 feet these days.)


Or parents could tell their kids not to play in swamps, especially on homemade rafts.

During this period, how many kids were killed by cars? Yet nobody is saying all roads should be filled in.

What does "industrial waste" mean? It's a loaded term, suggesting images of barrels full of toxic chemicals. But the article only describes some planks of wood.


It would appear that some anonymous poster has never been a parent, or a child for that matter.


Underdeveloped self-preservation instincts.

Which brings me to my main point: thank goodness for tort law, forcing Harvard to give a shit about the poor kids drowning on their property.

Honestly, I'd love it for my kids to have more chances to build a raft in a pond around here.

Important edit: not because I want them to drown.


My kids are pretty free-range, but going out on a lake in a raft they built themselves is one adventure I wouldn't allow. Unless I were directly involved with the design and construction after researching how to build it properly, and I was there when they used it, and we all wore lifejackets, and it was a pond where boating is explicitly allowed.

Floating on a board in a swamp by themselves? No way.


My kids don't get to go anywhere they can physically access regardless of how dangerous it is. Even if there's no unfenced pond, there's plenty of highways, train tracks, high building ledges, etc which they could reach. They don't get to explore the neighborhood without an adult until I'm convinced they know what's dangerous and will stay away from it.

…some roads to be filled in or narrowed to reduce the incentive to speed and kill.

But yes, let’s just blame the parents for everything. Property owners have no responsibility and kids who don’t do as they are told deserve their fates.

So you did what your parents told you to do and never did what your buddies were up to?

That makes you a rare fellow, indeed.

... was there ever any further movement on the proposed bike path from the village to Forest Hills through this part of the Arbs?


are still underway for the path extension to Roslindale Square. The smaller path plan to connect Arboretum Rd. with the Blackwell path is progressing well.