NEWBURYPORT — The Maudslay State Park Association received a $1,000 donation from the Newburyport Horticultural Society this week, kicking off the association’s fundraising efforts for the repair of the brick walls lining the park’s formal garden.
The walls, designed and built in the early 20th century by famed landscape architect Martha Brookes Hutcheson, surround the garden and define each of its internal areas.
And as Maudslay State Park Association President Marlys Edwards explained, the walls have largely fallen into disrepair over the years due to natural wear and vandalism.
“People tend to pick up and throw pieces of stone any time there is erosion,” Edwards said.
Edwards emphasized the importance of preserving the garden’s walls, describing them as Hutcheson’s most significant design in the Boston area — even more so than the Longfellow House’s formal garden in Cambridge, which she designed in the late 1800s.
“It’s a tribute to the kind of design work that was done in the early 1900s, and to (Hutcheson),” Edwards said. “You can see reflections of what she learned in France, Italy and England.”
Edwards acknowledged that the full restoration of the garden’s walls will take “tens of thousands of dollars” and require some sizable contributions. She said an assessment of the project will be made this year and that the association is exploring possible grants that could help fund the project.
In the meantime, Edwards said the association hopes area residents who visit and appreciate the park will make donations to help with the garden walls’ repairs.
“Because we know how significant this project is, we need to start the fundraising now,” Edwards said. “We’re really making a plea to the people of the community who love the park.”
Staff writer Jack Shea can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3154. Follow him on Twitter @iamjackshea.