The Duxbury Rural and Historical Society was founded in 1881 as a rural society, and its first projects included acquiring land that would further the institution’s mission. The earliest acquisition was around 1890, making DRHS one of the oldest, if not the oldest, land conservation entities in America! This was done at a time in Duxbury’s history when there were no other organizations able to engage in this type of endeavor.
Today, DRHS owns more than 160 acres of land in Duxbury and Plymouth. Different parcels serve different purposes: some are maintained in conjunction with historic buildings; some are for recreation, and are open for public use; a few are reserved for the use of DRHS Members; and, many are held in preservation for the benefit of the wider community.
The DRHS has an active Lands Committee which is charged with creating processes and procedures for responsible land management of DRHS holdings. Any questions about DRHS lands should be directed to the Executive Director, Erin McGough, at 781-934-6106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All use of lands is subject to responsible use, as well as rules and regulations. All users are advised that they use the land “at their own risk.”
Partial Description of Lands Owned by DRHS:
Round Pond: approximately 62 acres of land located on the north, east, and south sides of Round Pond and Pine Lake, off Mayflower Street. The land is open to the public and has available parking, subject to park rules.
Round Pond is a large kettle hole left by a melting glacier around 10,000 BC. Ice continued to play a part in the pond’s history as late as the 1940s. When known as Cole’s Pond in the 1880s, the pond was the site of the Merry family’s ice house, and an abundant source of ice for summer residents.
Parcels around Round Pond were acquired ca. 1890, making it the earliest DRHS acquisition. Intended as a recreational area, trails were added in the 1980s. Today, the DRHS holdings are partnered with those owned by the Town of Duxbury, creating more than 170 acres of conservation land between Round Pond, Pine Lake, and Island Creek Pond. A special thank you to the Town of Duxbury for partnering with DRHS in maintaining this recreational space.
Maxwell Garden: Purchased by DRHS in 1943, this beautiful garden sits on Washington Street, near the Bluefish River bridge and is a popular spot for enjoying the water. The Maxwell Gardens are maintained by the Garden Club of Duxbury and their labors are appreciated each year, as it comes to vigorous life. The Maxwell Garden is open to the public.
Bumpus Park: Given as a park to the DRHS in 1946 by Hermon and Helen Bumpus and named in honor of their father, Dr. Hermon C. Bumpus, Sr., former owner who had restored the King Caesar House in the 1930s. The park is the remains of Ezra Weston’s wharf and today the park still affords the same majestic view of Duxbury Bay once enjoyed by Weston, who was known as “King Caesar.”
Located on King Caesar Road, across from the King Caesar House museum (120 King Caesar Rd). Bumpus Park is popular for sightseeing and picnics; it is also a popular rental venue for weddings and photography. The public is welcome to use the park, except when there is a private rental scheduled, as indicated in signage on the park. Rental inquiries should be directed to DRHS offices at 781-934-6106 or email@example.com.
Clark’s Island, Plymouth: the DRHS owns approximately 17 acres of land on Clark’s Island, located in Plymouth Bay. These holdings include land on the west shore, the eastern shore, Pulpit Rock, and the house property known as Cedarfield (built in 1836 and the second-oldest house on the island). Each year in July/August, the DRHS invites the public to join us at Cedarfield for a picnic, followed by a gathering at Pulpit Rock for a historical perspective on the wonderful island. Pulpit Rock has sometimes been called “the real Plymouth Rock” and was the location at which the passengers of the Mayflower held their first service in the New World, before venturing further into the harbor.
Second Meeting House Lot: located in conjunction to the Burying Ground on Chestnut Street and owned by DRHS since 1937. The conventional wisdom regarding the site’s history is that the First Meeting House (which was built around 1637 and stood within the present bounds of the Chestnut Street cemetery) was replaced by a Second Meeting House just to the east of the cemetery around 1706. This building was the center of Duxbury affairs, both religious and secular, for nearly 80 years until it was, in turn, replaced by a Third Meeting House built in 1785 on Tremont Street. The Second Meeting House was then taken down around 1785. A special thank you to the Town of Duxbury for partnering with DRHS in maintaining this recreational space. Open to the public, subject to cemetery rules and regulations.
Hunt Park: Located on Marshall Street, just after the Eagles’ Nest bridge, Hunt Park was given to DRHS in 1962 by the Standish Shore Improvement Association, Inc. and was originally owned by Helen Hunt Phillips, and before her, Ruby O. Tuttle. An attractive parcel of land with easy pull-off parking, it is an ideal spot for a picnic or as a starting point to exploration of Standish Shore.
Lapham Woods: purchased in 1931 and 1952, Lapham Woods includes approximately 36 acres of land located on either side of the corner at Tremont and Depot Streets. The land is intended for conservation purposes, but there are some trails available to the public. The DRHS does not provide any warranty on the use or safety of these trails.