Stonehurst, the Robert Treat Paine Estate; the Storer Conservation Lands; and the Chester Brook Woods are owned and operated by the City of Waltham, Massachusetts. The wide and well groomed trails cover 134.5 acres.
The trails pass through woodlands that contain a variety of forest flora including white pines, red oak, maple, beeches, and mature hemlocks, vernal pools and other wetland areas. In the woods, meadows, and estate grounds, there are wild flowers in season, a variety of native shrubs and plants, and estate plantings such as mountain laurel, azalea, rhododendrons, and wisteria. The Western Greenway Trail traverses the property.
The country home of social reformer and affordable housing advocate Robert Treat Paine, Stonehurst is an American masterpiece crowning the career-long collaboration between architect Henry Hobson Richardson ad landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, leading designers who deeply influenced the way Americans live and relate to their environment.
Stonehurst is the most intact example of Richardson’s approach to country house design and the only one that is open to the public. The convention-breaking house crowns a spectacular rise selected by Olmsted, founder of the parks movement nationwide. Stonehurst is a museum offering unique lessons in architecture, landscape design, and community planning through public tours, programs and events throughout the year.
The National Historic Landmark house and 109-acre Storer Conservation Lands were donated to the City of Waltham in 1974 by Theodore Storer, a grandson of Robert Treat Paine. The non-profit Friends of Stonehurst was founded in 1991. In 2001, the City of Waltham acquired the 25.5-acre Chester Brook Woods (located between Beaver Street, Forest Street, Chester Brook Road, and Jack’s Way). Though landlocked, the property consists of undisturbed woodlands and once was a part of the Paine Estate. The Chester Brook Woods contain important wetlands that drain into Chester Brook, a perennial stream flowing from Hardy Pond and continuing south to the Charles River.
Owner: City of Waltham.
Acreage: Storer Conservation Lands 109 acres; Chesterbrook Woods 25.5.
Terrain: Hilly and occasionally steep woodlands.
Trail rating and elevation gain: Easy and moderate. Elevation gain 60-70 feet.
Highlights: Well-groomed network of hiking trails • Stonehurst, the Robert Treat Paine Estate, an icon of American design created by Henry Hobson Richardson and Frederick Law Olmsted. • Ruins of structures and an old cart road • the Western Greenway • guides, quests, etc. are available at the house.
Hazards: Some poison ivy on steep slopes of the south side.
Special rules: Strict dog leash rule in effect. Professional dog walking prohibited.
Access & Parking: (a) Park at Stonehurst Parking lot, or (b) Park at High School.
Handicapped accessibility: Bull Run trail is wheelchair accessible. Most trails are leveled and well-groomed.
Contact: Waltham Conservation Commission (781) 314-3846; Stonehurst, the Robert Treat Paine Estate, (781) 314-3290.
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