Celebrating Friends of Leverett Pond

Next time you pass by the pastoral splendor of the banks of Leverett Pond at the foot of Allerton Street, remember we have the Friends of Leverett Pond to thank for decades of earnest restoration work.  Leverett Pond – the link in the celebrated Emerald Necklace at Olmsted Park, named for its designer, Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture – is at the eastern end of the High Street Hill neighborhood along Pond Avenue.

Another fun geographical fact: the Boston-Brookline line travels through two ponds within Olmsted Park: Leverett Pond and Willow Pond.

Formed in 1978 as a subcommittee of the High Street Hill Association, the Friends of Leverett Pond has worked to increase park stewardship; and originally, to help restore a largely ignored, dilapidated park on the edge of the neighborhood which always should have been — and currently is — a significant asset.

The Friends of Leverett Pond advocates for proper maintenance and the historic restoration of Olmsted Park and the entire Emerald Necklace, and has held neighborhood celebrations, clean-ups, and pruning workshops in the park, and provided leadership to remove an oil spill into Willow Pond. All improvements show respect for Olmsted’s original design, and reflect intensive neighborhood participation in restoring Brookline’s piece of a national treasure.

Major work following the guidelines of an Emerald Necklace Parks Master Plan has included removing automobile traffic from a dual road system and creating increased parkland and bicycle and pedestrian paths in its place, and restoration of the Babbling Brook and park footbridges.






Under a $100,000 Mass. Historic Landscape Preservation Program grant through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management, the area below Allerton Street, known as the Allerton Overlook, was re-created into a welcoming park entrance following Olmsted’s original plan.  Throughout the Park to deal with previous neglect and dead and dying growth, major horticulture restoration effort has resulted in a healthier tree canopy.  There are currently over 20 species of trees in the Park and walking tours are frequently held highlighting this diversity.





After major flooding resulting from two hundred-year storms in 1996 and 1998, Boston, Brookline, and the Commonwealth, with citizen participation including the Friends, developed the Emerald Necklace Environmental Improvements Master Plan.  Phase 1 of the Muddy River Restoration Project implemented by the Army Corps of Engineers was completed in 2016. Phase 2 will excavate the sandbar and island at Leverett Pond opposite 33 Pond Ave. (Brook House) to allow for increased water flow and reduce flood damage. The Brookline Parks and Open Space Division is developing a plan for dredging Willow Pond.

Friends of Leverett Pond has a seat on the Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s Overseers Committee and is a member organization of Brookline GreenSpace Alliance and remains a strong advocate for our historic neighborhood park.

Your participation and membership in the Friends strengthens the community that cares for our local Olmsted park.  As a subcommittee of HSHA, the Friends is supported by your dues and designated individual contributions which can be made to the HSHA treasurer at Matt Hyatt, 87 Walnut Street, Brookline, Ma 02445 or highstreethill@gmail.com, attn: Friends of Leverett Pond.

We look forward to continuing the association with the Friends of Leverett Pond and all the great work that is being done into the future.

HSHA Annual Meeting Monday May 7

Come one, come all to the High Street Hill Association Annual Meeting, Monday, May 7th 2018 at the Latvian Lutheran Church, 58 Irving Street starting at 6 pm. As per tradition, it’s a  Family Potluck Dinner — those with last names beginning with A-F please bring a salad, G-M a main dish, and N-Z a dessert — followed by an interesting program and Annual Business Meeting and Board Election to follow.

Rob Daves, an Upland Road resident and Town Meeting Member, will give an illustrated talk on John Wilson (1922-2015), a nationally celebrated African-American artist who lived in Brookline with his family for 50 years. His art, widely admired for its emotional resonance and examination of injustice, is featured in museums and graces public spaces around the country, including the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Wilson was “One of Boston’s most esteemed and accomplished artists,” said Sebastian Smee, former Boston Globe art critic. Rob has helped organize a group of Brookline residents from diverse backgrounds to raise money for the purchase of John Wilson’s inspirational bronze sculpture of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The sculpture will be installed at Town Hall where it will serve to remind us all of King’s fight for justice and equality. For more information, please visit: johnwilsonartist.org

We’ll also hear updates from local organizations including the Brookline Community Foundation and the Brookline GreenSpace Alliance, and vote on the 2018 HSHA Board Candidate Slate:

Wendy Machmuller, President
Anthony Flint, Vice President
Kim Ozaki Erik, Secretary
Matt Hyatt, Treasurer
Christopher Gates
Margaret Talcott
Liz Craig-Olins
Eric Wurster
Diana Post
Peggy Campion (new)
Yana Piralkova (new)

Many thanks to outgoing board members John Carpenter, who has served for six years as secretary, and Elizabeth Childs for their service to the neighborhood.

The High Street Hill Association is proud to organize many activities over the past year, including the Feb. 12 Neighborhood Author Talk with Walnut Street resident Anthony Flint on Modern Man: the Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrow; the Candidates Night with the Greater Point Neighborhood Association at Lincoln School; last year’s Annual Meeting and Conversation with Brookline Police Chief Daniel O’Leary; a performance of I Spy Butterfly for members and their children at the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline Village; the annual Father’s Day Picnic on Philbrick Green with pony rides, food, and beverages; a performance of Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys on Philbrick Green; Neighborhood Author Talk with Walnut Place resident Jessica Shattuck on The Women in the Castle; the traditional Christmas Eve Caroling on Philbrick Green; and the new tradition of a winter Soup Stroll. Among many other activities, we worked with neighbors on Allerton St., Cumberland Ave., Hawthorn Rd. and Glen Summer Rd. to submit a request for a town traffic study of these four streets; and have been engaged in the many development projects along Boylston Street.

The HSHA board welcomes your input and involvement in neighborhood issues and programs ahead – please be in touch! For contact info, go to www.highstreethill.org and Follow us on Facebook @HighStreetHillAssociation.

Second Annual Soup Stroll this Sunday

Soup Stroll this Sunday!
Sunday, January 28
HSHA Neighborhood (Meet at 24 Walnut Place)

Join us this Sunday afternoon for the 2nd Annual High Street Hill Association Soup Stroll.  Enjoy six delicious soups in three neighborhood locations:

4:00 pm – meet at the home of Dorothy and Blake Cady @ 24 Walnut Place. Please use front entrance.
  • Soups created by Kim Ozaki and Dorothy Cady

4:35 pm – stroll to the home of Jennifer Jackson and Rob Daves @ 9 Upland Road.

  • Soups created by Fati Hajebi and Francis Fisher

5:15 pm – stroll to the home of Michele Sommer and Chet Geschickter @ 203 Pond Avenue.

  • Soups created by Michele Sommer and Yana Piralkova
Join to meet friends old and new, and appreciate different parts of the neighborhood while tasting culinary wonders.
A few more spots remain. RSVP to kimozaki@comcast.net

Announcing another Neighborhood Author’s Talk Sunday December 10

HSHA Author’s Talk
Sunday, December 10
4:30-6:30 PM
254 Walnut St.

High Street Hill is loaded with artists, musicians, and authors. To celebrate and continue a new tradition, the High Street Hill Association is proud to present a neighborhood author’s talk, featuring Jessica Shattuck. She will reflect on her New York Times Bestselling novel, The Women in the Castle  — the story of three German widows living together in a crumbling castle in Bavaria in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Their husbands were executed for their participation in the 20th of July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, but the women’s own beliefs and experiences span the gamut of the German political spectrum. A novel as much about complicity as it is about resistance, The Women in the Castle offers a new and different look at WWII from the German point of view. Shattuck, who is herself of German descent, will share with us how she came to write the book and what she learned in her research about this time.

Hosted by Anthony Flint & Tina Cassidy

254 Walnut Street, Brookline

Wine & cheese will be served

RSVP to anthony.flint@gmail.com

Jessica’s The Hazards of Good Breeding was a New York Times Notable Book and Boston Globe Best Book of the Year. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Glamour, Wired and The New Yorker. Her book is for sale at Brookline Booksmith, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and indiebound.com

The HSHA Annual Picnic is this Sunday!

The HSHA Annual Picnic is this Sunday!
Father’s Day, June 18th
4:00-8:00 PM
Philbrick Green

Pony rides 4:15-5:15
Grills fired up at 4:30

Grills and condiments will be provided
Bring your own grill-ables, BYOB, and a side dish to share
Water/drinks and hot dogs will be provided for the children
An ice cream truck will take care of dessert
BYO yard games welcome!

The weather forecast looks cooperative so no need for a rain date.
Hope to see you all on the green!

Sign of the times


Street signs are such an important part of the visual environment, and many neighbors have noticed how some Pill Hill street signs are made of thick cast aluminum with projecting black letters on round poles, while others are flat computer-generated versions on perforated square towers. The distinctive black and silver cast signs were crafted by local workers at a town foundry from 1937 through the 1960s. In recent years, however, their numbers have been diminished by natural attrition — car accidents, tree limbs, and theft; High Street, for whatever reason, seems to be a frequent target. The old signs have generally been replaced with mass-produced modern ones. The federal government also played a role in the demise of Brookline’s homemade signs, which appear to be unique in the United States.

A 2003 federal guideline stipulated that by 2012 all street signs were required to have six-inch letters, be retro-reflective, and on breakaway poles. In spite of this new regulation, a town warrant article in 2005 sought to maintain in place the existing cast aluminum street signs and restore missing ones. This well-intended article, however, wasn’t always respected when replacing the missing historic signs. A significant breakthrough came in 2012 when the High Street Hill Association, the Brookline Preservation Commission, Senator John Kerry and several other Northeast communities successfully lobbied for historic districts to be exempt from federal street sign requirements.

The High Street Hill Association received good news this spring after campaigning for over fifteen years to preserve and replace Pill Hill’s historic street signs. We were notified by the town that the specifications and documents required to restore all of the neighborhood’s missing historic signs and poles were nearly complete. This is not a small project. A 2015 High Street Hill Association inventory found that over half of them were missing. A date has not been set when the new historic signs and poles will begin appearing in our neighborhood. In the meantime, visit the HSHA website’s Neighborhood History for photos and a history of Brookline’s classic black and silver cast aluminum street signs.

High Street Hill Association Highlight — offline version

HSHA Paper Highlight Flyer

Once per year the HSHA distributes a paper version of The Highlight to every home in our neighborhood.  This is both as an opportunity to reach additional neighbors who are not yet subscribed to the e-Highlight and as part of our membership drive.  Thank you for your continued membership in the HSHA!  A copy of the paper flyer, with membership donation information, can be found here:


High Street Hill Association Annual Meeting May 1


Come one, come all to the High Street Hill Association’s Annual Meeting, Monday May 1st, 2017 at the Latvian Lutheran Church – 58 Irving Street — beginning at 6 pm with a Potluck Dinner (A-F please bring a salad, G-M a main dish, and N-Z dessert), wine and beer.

Our program will begin promptly at 7 pm, featuring A Conversation with Daniel C. O’Leary, Brookline’s Chief of Police. Chief O’Leary has been a member of the police department for nearly 40 years and chief of the department for the past two decades. Accompanying him will be several colleagues from the Brookline Police Department. Topics to be discussed include:

• Officer training in cultural differences and diversity

• Anti-discrimination and workplace safety polices

• Brookline as a “Sanctuary City”

• Impact of marijuana sales in Brookline

The HSHA Annual Business Meeting and Board Election will follow. The 2017 HSHA Board Candidate Slate is as follows:

Wendy Machmuller, President
Anthony Flint, Vice President
John Carpenter, Secretary
Matt Hyatt, Treasurer
Elizabeth Childs
Liz Craig-Olins (new)
Christopher Gates
Kim Ozaki
Diana Post
Margaret Talcott
Erik Wurster

Many thanks to Diana Post, who is stepping down as president after four years, and outgoing board member Andy Olins for their service to the neighborhood.

Pill Hill is a great place to live!

If you live in the Pill Hill Local Historic District, the High Street Hill Association is your neighborhood organization. The HSHA is committed to fostering and promoting the common interests of the residents. Please support your neighborhood by joining the HSHA each year. Check out our website at www.highstreethill.org Follow us on Facebook

All politics is local

There’s no better expression of democracy than engaging in local government. To continue the dialogue, the Greater Point Neighborhood Association and High Street Hill Neighborhood Association present a special Candidates Forum, Thursday, April 13th
7:00-9:00 PM at the Lincoln School Cafeteria.

Brookline residents running for these townwide offices will present their ideas for the Town, and answer questions:

E-mail your questions to gpna02445@gmail.com

It’s winter — time for a neighborhood author talk!

HSHA Author Event Featuring: Anthony Flint on Le Corbusier Sunday, February 12 4:15pm 28 Allerton Street.

Please join us for the latest in a series of events organized by the HSHA, to bring together neighborhood authors and artists with their neighbors. On Sunday, February 12, the Board is delighted to present one of its own – neighbor/board member/author Anthony Flint, a resident of Walnut Street and a fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (www.lincolninst.edu). Anthony has been a journalist most of his professional career, primarily at The Boston Globe, and continues to write for The Atlantic’s CityLab (http://www.citylab.com/authors/anthony-flint/) and other publications.
He will discuss his book Modern Man: The Life of LeCorbusier, Architect of Tomorrow (New Harvest, 2014). LeCorbusier was a pioneer of 20th century modernism, and while much criticized, left a legacy of solutions for housing the many millions of people moving to cities.

When:  Sunday, February 12,  join us at 4:15pm for Anthony’s presentation, followed by a reception of wine, cheese, and sweets.
Where:  The home of Margaret Talcott and Scott Scharer – 28 Allerton Street, cohosted by fellow HSHA Board members John Carpenter and Diana Post.

Books will be available for purchase that afternoon at a special HSHA discount.
More information on Anthony Flint: www.anthonyflint.net

Modern Man on Amazon:   https://www.amazon.com/Modern-Man-Corbusier-Architect-Tomorrow/dp/1491529075

Seating is limited, so please contact Diana Post at dpost@partners.org (or (617) 738-5096if you would like to attend