The Shattuck Visitor Center, located in the Back Bay Fens across the street from the Museum of Fine Arts, is the permanent home of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. The visitor center houses offices for the conservancy and is both an educational resource about the parks and a gathering place for the community. A hub of activity, you’ll find a variety of free things to do in Boston parks at the Shattuck Center — from walking tours to talks and exhibits.
Stony Brook GateHouse, courtesy of the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
The 1882 building, designed by architect H.H. Richardson, is itself part of the Emerald Necklace’s history, having originally served as one of a pair of pump-stations that regulated the flow of the Stony Brook into the Muddy River. In the 1970s, the pumping facilities were consolidated. In 2010, the restoration of the gatehouse, underwritten by foundation grants and private donors, was completed. The building’s stunning architectural transformation is an extraordinary accomplishment that turned an industrial building into the fully accessible modern home for the conservancy. It required investment and funding from both the public sector and private donors.
Prior to its resurgence as the Shattuck Visitor Center, the building was known as the Stony Brook Gatehouse and is a Boston Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It embodies a time when excellent design was a part of every public works endeavor. Its preservation and adaptive reuse provides greater public access to the structure than at any time in its long history.
Check Calendar & Events for the times of docent-led tours of the park that depart from the center on weekends and holidays.