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Easton, MA – June 19, 2012 – The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) announced today its purchase of the Governor Ames Estate, a 36-acre historic property in Easton that was once the home of Oliver Ames, who served as Massachusetts’ 35th governor from 1887–1890. The Estate features sweeping lawns in an arboretum-like setting, an elegant 19th-century stone stable, an agricultural field, meadows, brook and garden pond – all within walking distance of the North Easton National Historic District. The property lies directly adjacent to the Easton Historical Society and the popular Easton Children’s Museum.
The Trustees, the nation’s oldest statewide land conservation organization, will now own and manage this historic and scenic property for public enjoyment. Prior to formally opening the property to the public, The Trustees will launch a management planning process, including community input sessions, to develop management and programming options for this important piece of open space.
In addition, the 10.5-acre Shovelshop Pond in the southern portion of the property will be conveyed to the Town of Easton by the Ames family following the completion of repairs to a dam and spillway.
“We are excited to be able to protect the Ames Estate from future development and turn it into a community park for the people of Easton and nearby communities,” says Steve Sloan, The Trustees’ Greater Boston Regional Director. “We are grateful to the donors and partners who have made this project possible and to the people of Easton, who have overwhelmingly supported our vision.”
With support from the Town of Easton and the state’s LAND grant program, The Trustees were able to purchase the property from the David Ames family and Elizabeth Ames for $2 million, significantly less than fair market value. The Easton Community Preservation Committee has committed $1 million to the effort, of which $500,000 will be reimbursed by the Commonwealth’s LAND program in July 2012. In addition, The Trustees have raised more than $3 million to fund transaction, startup, and renovation costs and establish a modest endowment for ongoing stewardship and programming.
"Our family connection with the Trustees goes back to their beginnings, as the Trustees were founded in the Boston offices of Frederick Lothrop Ames, the builder of the Langwater Estate and the cousin of Governor Ames,” says David Ames. “We are very proud of the work the Trustees have done over their long history and we could not be more pleased that they will be the stewards of this wonderful property in the years to come. We have no doubt that they will make a great contribution to preserving the special character of North Easton Village." “This is a wonderful opportunity to build on the historic legacy of Easton,” adds Wes Ward, Vice President for Land and Community Conservation for The Trustees. “The protection of the Ames Estate complements Easton’s five H.H. Richardson-designed landmarks and the current renovation of the entire Ames Shovel Works complex in the heart of the village, and we hope it will increase appreciation of this extraordinary cultural resource.”
“I’m thrilled that this beautiful property, located in the heart of Easton’s historic district, will be preserved forever,” adds Colleen Corona, Chairwoman of Easton’s Board of Selectman. “I have so much respect for work of The Trustees of Reservations, and we look forward to working with them as they begin planning for the future of the Governor Ames Estate.”
Community planning and input sessions are expected to be scheduled in the next few months. In advance of that process, The Trustees are encouraging members of the public to email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. As the planning process gets underway, the property will be open informally for passive recreation from dawn to dusk.
Public access will be limited to the portion acquired by The Trustees (shown on the attached map). There will be no public access to the adjacent parcel retained by the family, nor beyond the entrance to the bridge over Langwater Pond located at the eastern boundary of the Governor Ames Estate. The property across the bridge remains a private residence.
More About The Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees of Reservations is the nation’s oldest statewide land conservation organization founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891 to “hold in trust” and care for properties of scenic, cultural and natural significance. Supported by members, donors and thousands of volunteers, The Trustees own and manage 106 spectacular “reservations” located on more than 26,000 acres in 76 communities throughout Massachusetts for current and future generations to enjoy. In addition, The Trustees also hold perpetual conservation restrictions on more than 20,000 additional acres (a total larger than any other conservation organization in Massachusetts), and have worked with community partners to assist in the protection of an additional 24,000 acres around the Commonwealth.
The Trustees work to promote healthy, active, and green communities across Massachusetts by providing hundreds of year-round programs, events and engagement opportunities for all ages. Most property entry fees, programs and events are free-of-charge or discounted for members. Accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, The Trustees are an established leader in the conservation movement and model for other land trusts nationally and internationally. One of the largest nonprofits in Massachusetts, The Trustees employ nearly 200 year-round and 400 seasonal staff with expertise in ecology, education, historic resources, land protection, conservation, land management, and planning. To find out more or to become a member or volunteer, please contact www.thetrustees.org.