Massachusetts Archives

Massachusetts Metropolitan Park Commission, Founders and Commissioners, Photographic Portraits, ca. 1892 to ca. 1907

In 1892, the Massachusetts Legislature authorized a Preliminary Board of a Metropolitan Park Commission to "consider the advisability of laying out ample open spaces for the use of the public, in the towns and cities in the vicinity of Boston." The Preliminary Board consisted of Charles Francis Adams (1835-1915) as Chairman, and Philip A. Chase (1834-1903) and William B. de las Casas (1857-1930) as associate board members. Sylvester Baxter (1850-1927) served as Secretary and Charles Eliot (1859-1897) as Landscape Architect. They issued a report to the Legislature in January 1893 recommending for the permanent establishment of a Metropolitan Park Commission. These five persons are considered the founders of the Massachusetts Metropolitan Parks System.

The Metropolitan Park Commission (MPC) was authorized by the Massachusetts Legislature on June 3, 1893 to acquire, maintain, and make available to the public open spaces for exercise and recreation, creating a Metropolitan Parks District, initially encompassing Boston and 36 surrounding cities and towns.

The MPC Board consisted of a Chairman, and four associate board members. Between 1893 and 1919, there were only a total of 17 persons who had served on the board of Metropolitan Park Commissioners.

A complete list of the Commissioners was published in the Report of the Board of Metropolitan Park Commissioners, for 1919 (Boston: Wright and Potter Printing Co., 1920, pages 15-16).

This collection consists of 15 studio photographic portraits of 13 persons who served on either the Preliminary Board, or the permanent MPC, including the five founders.

Many of the other persons were known in their profession, within and outside of Massachusetts.

In 1919, the Massachusetts Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) was created by merging the Metropolitan Park Commission (1893-1919) with the Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Board (1901-1919). That latter board was previously a 1901 merger of the Metropolitan Sewerage Commission (1889-1901) and the Metropolitan Water Board (1895-1901).

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