HWGC’s Garden for the Community

Official welcome/gift to our community: MAY/JUNE 2019

After a great deal of consideration, HWGC took an interesting turn in the road for our large public event, something we try to do every four years.  Rather than organize a lovely Garden Tour or Flower Show (as in past years), we chose to create something that will be long lasting and give back to our community.  The choice was a mini Public Garden or a ‘Garden Space’; something small and manageable (about ¼ of an acre) that offered a beautiful place to sit, think and enjoy.  A garden for community workshops focused on gardening needs, and a place to help set an example in terms of eco-system, native plants and the environment.  We hoped for a high foot traffic location so it could be enjoyed by all ages and shared with many folks in our area.

Following several weeks of research and conversations with both towns, we were pleased to have finally settled on Pingree Park; a park that is used daily and has a long history not only in the towns of Hamilton and Wenham, but in our surrounding towns and communities as well.

We are deeply grateful to the Town of Wenham, particularly to Peter Lombardi, Town Administrator and the Wenham Board of Selectmen for believing in us, and providing us with not only the location but also the full support of the Wenham Department of Public Works.

As we all know, it truly takes a village to create something that will stand the test of time.  Although this is a new project and will be ongoing with a two year plan, five year plan and eight year plan, it will be a project that will be maintained by HWGC for many years down the road.  This project will be catalogued with information left here on our web-site and at our Public Library, so future generations can see the steps taken and make changes over time to accommodate the needs of the day.

Although we are applying for grants to help support this venture, we would greatly welcome any additional support you may wish to share.  Please feel free contact us at any time.

We’ll keep you updated as this project continues … in the meantime; we’d like to express our thanks to the many folks who have already contributed by way of conversations or by offering their time, expertise and/or materials. (Please refer to our “It takes a Village tab”.)

History of Pingree Park

Adapted from the original by Jake Maier, Senior Scout Leader, Wenham Boy Scouts Troop 28 (Eagle Scout candidate).  Original document is from Treasures of Wenham History by Jack E. Hauk

Pingree Park today doesn’t look at all what it was like in the past.  For many years it was an apple orchard before it was a playground for families to hang out. During the eighteenth century the field known today as Pingree Park was used as an army camp from 1862 – 1865 during the Civil War.  The field was owned by George Dodge.  When the field was an army camp it was called Camp Lander which was named after Frederick W. Lander who was a Brigadier-General of Volunteers.  After 1865 the property was changed back to being used peacefully.  For example the field went back to pasturing cows and growing crops.  During 1890s the field was used as a polo ground before Myopia existed.

Mrs. Thomas Pingree was a private owner who acquired ownership of the field until 1916 when she died.  In the same year she died, the fourteen acres were given to the town for a playground and recreation purposes.  The baseball field across from the HW public library was named Cheeseman Field in 1972. It was named “Cheeseman Field” to honor the death of Captain Alan B. Cheeseman who grew up in Wenham and died in the Vietnam War.