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Tracing History

Jumping Rocks

In many ways, the history of Massachusetts flows through Trustees properties. Visit these reservations, each with its own connection to evolution of the Commonwealth. Then add your own favorite portals to our collective past!

Norris Reservation, Norwell
From its border on the placid North River, it’s hard to imagine the property was once part of America’s first shipbuilding center. Vessels launched here included the Beaver, of Boston Tea Party fame, and Columbia, for which the Columbia River was named.

Turkey Hill, Hingham and Cohasset
With its panoramic views of Boston Harbor, the hill drew a crowd of townspeople to watch the War of 1812 naval battle in which mortally wounded American Capt. James Lawrence exhorted his crew, “Don’t give up the ship!”

Agassiz Rock, Manchester-by-the-Sea
Renowned 19th-century naturalist Louis Agassiz is credited with determining that the huge boulders scattered erratically through New England were left by retreating glaciers. It’s said Agassiz was inspired by the pair of granite monoliths he saw here.

Greenwood Farm, Ipswich
This serene property on the Ipswich River salt marsh includes the Paine House, a beautifully restored early Colonial homestead. Its first resident was Robert Paine, Jr., a foreman for the Salem witch trials.

Pegan Hill, Natick and Dover
At 410 feet, the hill is the highest point in Natick. The property is named for the Pegan indigenous people, whose settlement once covered 4000 acres and who were among the “Praying Indians” converted in the 17th century by the Reverend John Eliot.

Old Manse, Concord
The former home of Ralph Waldo Emerson was visited regularly by fellow literary icons Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau. The house was built shortly before the Revolutionary War began, only yards from where the Shot Heard ’Round the World was fired.

Redemption Rock, Princeton
In the face of growing Colonial expansion, Native Americans kidnapped 24 settlers, including Mary Rowland Richardson and her three children, in the winter of 1676. That spring, Mary was released at a ledge now known as Redemption Rock.

Bear's Den, New Salem
It was beneath the cliffs and waterfall here in 1675, during King Philip’s War, that Native American leader Metacomet (King Philip) organized several tribes in a unified force against Colonial villages on the Connecticut River.

Mission House, Stockbridge
Rev. John Sergeant was a young missionary when he arrived in the Berkshires to live among Mohican people in the 1730s. The home he built in Stockbridge several years later, a National Historic Landmark, is now a museum that tells the story of that era.