Lights in the Necklace

On view  from February 13 – March 31, 2021.

The Emerald Necklace’s 1,100 acres are home to more than 30 bridges. Connecting neighbors and bridging communities is what the Necklace was designed to do nearly 150 years ago by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. This past winter, the Emerald Necklace and our shared green spaces continued to be some of the primary places of community connection.

Lights in the Necklace celebrates the power of our urban parks to bring us together, inspire us and light the way in challenging times. We hope you enjoyed the emerald glow on several iconic Emerald Necklace bridges as they lit the way through winter into spring, and we thank you for all the #NecklaceLights moments you shared with us!

Boylston Street Bridge

This landmark bridge is the highest point in the Back Bay Fens, made of quarried Cape Ann granite in the design of architects H. H. Richardson and John C. Olmsted. The structure towers above the Muddy River, providing sweeping views of the entire fens from the ‘tourelle’ cutouts over the bridge, with an archway tall enough that drivers on Commonwealth Avenue were once able to see into the parks. The bridge was envisioned as a more gentle and rustic design that would not subtract from the meticulously curated natural landscape. (Photo: Merrill Shea)

Chapel Street and Bridle Path Footbridges

Part of a rich assemblage of original structures located within the Riverway, the Chapel Street Footbridge marks a grand entrance into the Emerald Necklace. Both structures are clad in the same honey-colored Cape Ann Granite found on the Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s Shattuck Visitor Center at 125 The Fenway. The bridge, consisting of two arches, traverses the Muddy River and a “bridle path” once used by equestrians to ride through the scenic area. (Photos: Jamie Santuccio and Merrill Shea)

Leverett Pond Footbridge

The single-arched Leverett Pond Footbridge spans the inlet of the Muddy River as it flows into the eponymous pond in Olmsted Park. Built between 1892 and 1893, this Roxbury puddingstone structure, adorned with decorations of finely dressed ashlars and red granite coping stones, had fallen into disrepair after a century of wear and heavy use, and was rehabilitated in 1983 as part of efforts to revitalize Olmsted Park and restore the Emerald Necklace to its former glory.

Liff Park Bridges

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy was founded in 1998 to advocate for the restoration of the Muddy River after several major flooding events shined a spotlight on decades of neglect and development, including paving over this portion of the river for a parking lot. The first phase of the restoration, which restored the river’s course between the Riverway and Avenue Louis Pasteur, was finished in 2016. When the park was reopened in 2017, it was dedicated to Boston Parks Commissioner Justine Mee Liff, who passed away in 2002. (Photo: Merrill Shea)

Longwood Avenue Bridge

Constructed between 1897- 1899 from designs by Frederick Law Olmsted, the Longwood Avenue Bridge connects the cities of Boston and Brookline, linking them from across the banks of Muddy River and the MBTA Green Line in Riverway Park. Built from striking Cape Ann Granite and originally intended to be an elaborate structure with two ornate staircases, the bridge was ultimately completed in the Renaissance Revival style with a simpler single stairway. (Photo: Merrill Shea)

Ellicott Arch

Named in honor of Joseph Ellicott, a wealthy landowner who sold his property to the City of Boston for the creation of Franklin Park, Ellicott Arch makes a grand architectural gesture. The arch, clad in local Roxbury puddingstone and designed by Frederick Law Olmsted’s step-son, John Charles, was completed in 1889. Adjacent to Ellicott Arch lie the 99 Steps. Also formed from Roxbury puddingstone, this dramatic staircase was completed a few years after the arch, in 1892.

Love the lights? Your support of our parks matters today more than ever. Please consider a gift to the Emerald Necklace Conservancy during this critical time to ensure the health, vibrancy and safety of these valuable green spaces for all. Make a gift to our Emerald Fund today.

Don’t forget to sign up for this year’s Muddy River Cleanup! We’re very excited to be able to host a socially distanced volunteer event spanning six days and seven parks, find a spot that works for you and sign up here: http://bit.ly/MuddyRiver21