Lights in the Necklace
Returning to the Emerald Necklace February 1!
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, who would have turned 200 this year. The Emerald Necklace and our shared green spaces continue to be some of the primary places of community connection amidst the ongoing pandemic.
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 enjoy the emerald glow in several iconic Emerald Necklace parks as they light the way through winter into spring. Explore the trees and bridges illuminated by this installation below!
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Visit the lights with these directions for both MBTA transit and parking
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Thank you to our 2022 Lights in the Necklace sponsors:
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.
At the northeastern end of the Emerald Necklace lies Charlesgate Park, a connecting point between Olmsted’s parks, the Charles River Esplanade and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. This year, the grove of trees at the intersection of Commonwealth Ave. and Charlesgate East is lit emerald green to raise awareness of the area’s ongoing revitalization project. After decades of neglect, this project will increase accessibility and bring more open green space to this critical link in Boston’s parks network. (Photo: Randall Albright)
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.
A kettle pond formed by retreating glaciers, much like its bigger sibling, the neighboring Jamaica Pond, Ward’s Pond sits at the southern tip of Olmsted Park. Frederick Law Olmsted originally designed the park as “a chain of picturesque fresh-water ponds, alternating with attractive natural groves and meads,” and reshaped the Muddy River to the contours of his design. This stone bridge crosses the stream at a relatively narrower section as it leaves its source at Jamaica Pond.
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.
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)
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)
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.