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The trees bordering the drives have had additions made to their loam beds until they now have a continuous bed of loam eight feet wide by three and one-half feet in depth. Further additions of loam will be required before a fine avenue of trees can be expected. Appropriations for increasing the depth of soil in the Fens would be a wise measure, in view of its importance to the future.
COMMON WEALTH AVENUE.
The improved appearance resulting from the thinning out of the trees on the eastern end of Commonwealth avenue is clearly apparent. The remaining trees, many of them good specimens, can be seen in their individuality, and they now have more opportunity for the spread of their branches than when they were closely crowded. A thinning out of the younger trees, between Dartmouth street and Massachusetts avenue, was made during the past season. These trees had grown to a point where their branches were beginning to intermingle, and serious crowding and damage would soon have resulted. This portion of the avenue is underlaid mostly with porous gravel, which has a covering of loam not exceeding twelve or thirteen inches in thickness. These conditions certainly are not conducive to a growth of fine trees.
This useful park continues to draw large numbers of people. The mounds are reserved for women and children ; the men, however, have free access to the walks and the seats on the river front. The gymnasium at the east end is for men and boys, the other at the west end for women and children. Competent teachers are in charge of the gymnasiums, those for the women’s gymnasium being under the direction of the Massachusetts Emergency and Hygiene Association. Large numbers enjoy the skating furnished on the men's gymnasium grounds.
WOOD ISLAND PARK.
Tree growth on Wood Island continues to be satisfactory in spite of its exposure to strong winds; and the number of visitors, influenced by the improved conditions, increases with each year. The gymnasium, ball grounds, cricket grounds, tennis and foot-ball grounds and skating fields have been kept in good condition, and have been largely patronized during the past season.
Outside of the regular maintenance of the grounds, no work of importance was done at this park during the past season. Being located opposite a large school-house, and being a favorite resort for a considerable number of pupils, the upkeep is relatively large and is out of proportion to the extent of the grounds.
In spite of its exposed position this valuable and beautiful breathing place is assuming quite a wooded appearance. The condition of the trees and shrubbery, like that at Wood Island Park, proves that the bleak shores and islands of the bay can be clothed with foliage.
No work other than that of maintenance was done the past season, with the exception of the planting of shrubbery in various places around the ponds.
On account of the coolness of the past summer bathers were not so numerous as during preceding summers. The band concerts given in July and August were attended by very large numbers of people. The steamboat service between Castle Island and the public landing received the usual patronage.
The work of filling, grading and road-making was continued on the Burnham wharf property. Sufficient ground was graded to form a good ball field of three diamonds, which were much used, as were later the three acres which were flooded for skating. The work of filling out into the bay by the teams of the Sanitary Department is still in progress. - CHESTNUT HILL PARK.
Outside of the regular maintenance work little was done in this park except the pruning and thinning out of the old woodlands. Some planting also was done, and preparation made for further planting in the spring. The acres added by purchase to the north border will permit of a wider planted belt, where a border screen is much needed.
In this newly acquired park some thinning of the trees was done. A small appropriation will suffice for grading and drainage.
DORCHESTER PARK AND WEST ROXBURY PARKWAY.
Overcrowding and diseased trees were thinned out. At West Roxbury Parkway the fine white oaks near Weld street were pruned of dead and diseased limbs. The ordinary maintenance of the wild bridle-path was continued.
In the Franklin Field nursery a quantity of nursery stock from seed beds was set out last spring. The stock'generally is in good condition, and affords a varied assortment of trees and shrubs from which to draw for planting. The newly broken ground was sowed to oats and millet for a forage crop. Subsequently the ground was twice ploughed, and it is now in fine condition for nursery work. To determine the species best adapted for golf greens and other games requiring a tough turf, a collection of grasses was sown in the nursery last spring (for experiment and observation).
The Stratton street and Blue Hill avenue borders of Franklin Field were graded, and reinforced in places with additional loam, for the belt of trees varying in width from forty to sixty feet to be planted in the coming spring. These trees will serve as a protection and a background for the field.
The Street Department having completed the drainage conduits early last spring we were enabled to level up and throw the whole field open to use. Subsequently this department filled the old open ditch along the Talbot avenue side, and prepared the ground along its course for a row of treeS.
As set forth in recent reports the field generally is uneven
from unequal settlements in the original grading. The work of regrading is too expensive to be undertaken under our maintenance appropriation.
The ball field is in increasing demand. On Saturday afternoons, especially, the whole area is occupied by baseball and cricket teams. About forty acres were flooded last winter for skating.
CHRISTOPHER GIBSON PLAYGROUND.
In the triangle, or children's corner, some simple apparatus was set up, which consisted of swings, swinging ladders and teeter boards. A small shelter pavilion was also built, a basket-ball outfit was supplied, and tennis courts were laid out. The games were carried on under the superintendence of a teacher, and this effort to interest the children and direct them in their play proved quite successful. The expense was light, and the results would fully justify the extension of this branch of playground work.
The field was well patronized during the season, commencing with base-ball, running through tennis, quoits, and ending with skating in winter.
SAVIN HILL BEACH.
The bathing-house at this beach contains thirty-one rooms for women and fifty-four for men. The number of bathers last season was 65,500. The accommodations were found to be inadequate, and at times several persons had to occupy one room. The beach is well sheltered, and very popular with the residents of the neighborhood. Additional rooms are needed. *
No work other than that of maintenance was done on this playground. Settlements of the marsh under the filled part of the ground continue to give trouble. The ball field, however, was kept in fairly good condition. The skating field was flooded as usual.
Swings, teeter boards, ladders, and sand boxes were installed early last season at one end of the playground. A small pavilion was also built for shelter. This section was fenced off from the remainder of the playground by a woven wire fence. A teacher was employed, and this resulted in a crowded children’s corner.
The filling of this playground is not fully completed. There is, however, sufficient smoothly graded ground for present demands, including an area of 2.2 acres for flooding for skating in winter.
The slope on the Foster street side of this park was planted with shrubs last spring, and some filling and grading was done on the playground. More graded space is needed, as this playground is much frequented by the young men of the neighborhood. To obtain this space it will be necessary to carry underground the brook now crossing the park. Other needs of this park are filling for the pond and play ground, also sanitary conveniences and a shelter.
NORTH BRIGHTON PLAYGROUND.
No work other than that of maintenance was done at this playground the past season. An extension of the graded area is needed for playground purposes, as are also fences and the preparation of the ground for the planting of trees around its border. A shelter and sanitary building is also much needed. The skating field on this playground was flooded the past winter.
The work of planting the slope at Bellevue street and grading and seeding the tennis courts was completed last spring. The Lagrange street border also was graded and prepared for planting with trees. Under-drainage was laid in various wet places, which, with the deepened outlet across Lagrange street, very much improved the grounds. A bog