Archive for November, 2008

fairyland (early
name of Hapgood Wright Town Forest area)

The Town Forest has a varied topography, and
thus includes diverse     ecosystems.
Some twelve thousand years ago the area was covered with the last of the New England glacial ice sheets; the
retreat of the glacier
left an
“outwash plain” which today we recognize in Brister’s Hill, the
land toward Route 2 from Fairyland Pond. This hill rises steeply some, seventy-five feet above the pond, with the
typical sandy and gravel soil
of glacial drift. Currently pine and oak
predominate, although earlier in the
century the American chestnut was present in good numbers, until the onset of
the chestnut blight.  The man made pond,
created in the latter part of the last century by damming a portion ‘of the swamp,
and the large swamp area were once part of the glacial Lake Concord which
submerged much
of the lowlands of the Town. Here the soil is typically
peaty with attendant growth such as the
swamp or red maple, and here still may be found the Clintonia
which Thoreau mentions so frequently “in
his” Journals.  Toward Concord
from the pond is an area of
“bottom land” with a sandy loamy soil, which has
‘been known, ‘as “Hoar’s
plantation;” still today may be seen some of the white
pine, spruce and larch planted there some hundred
years ago.

Whether or not Fairyland
was a camping ground for Squaw Sachem and
the Musketaquidian
Indians, as Margaret Sidney once speculated, can remain-
an open
question} however, we do know that Fairyland has been enjoyed by
many of
Concord’s famous citizens, such Emerson and Charming and most
especially, of course,
Thoreau.  Thoreau’s Journals contain
frequent references to the area; he
describes giant ferns two to three feet high
in “Hubbard’s shady swamp (the land was owned by Ebenezer Hubbard at
time) and the “dark blue
indigo Clintonia berries.”

Source: Author
Sisson, Edith A. Title The Hapgood
Wright Town Forest: typescript, 1969 / E.A. Sisson.
1 item ([2] p.): map; 28 cm

Mrs. Hawthorne, in her Journal of April 29,
1852, writes: “Mr. Emerson and Ellery Channing passed along; and Mr.
Emerson asked Julian to go with the children to Fairy Land (in Walden Woods). He went, in a state of ecstatic bliss. He brought
home, in a basket, cowslips,
anemones and violets.”

Fairyland and its miniature lake, Mrs. Daniel Lothrop
writes: ” Ebby Hubbard owned it, and it was
afterward sold to a
public-spirited citizen who spent much time and thought and money on it. It was
a large tract of rough, unpromising land, your beau­tiful pond had to be
evolved by the generous hand that has thrown this spot open to whomever cared to enter in.

youngest daughter1 purchased Fairy­land
several years ago, in order to save its trees from
the woodman’s axe.
This romantic spot may be called a suburb of Walden, as it is only separated by
the width of a country road from Walden woods. Fairyland has a pretty pond, embowered in trees, and a delicious
spring, cool and clear enough to have been
patronized by the fairies. It has always been a
favorite haunt for the
children of the village, and many of the school children have often used it as
a play and picnic ground. Some thirty years ago, the pupils of a well-known
school used to hold fairy masques and costume parties there, and if a way­farer had strayed in, he would have been surprised
find himself in the center of a fairy ring or gypsy carnival. Now
quiet citizens use it as a pleasant place for a summer stroll; and berrying
parties in the ‘summer, and nutting excursions in the autumn often visit it and
return with abundant harvests. Climbing up its steep path .by the
spring, the visitor soon enters Walden -woods, and threading his way ‘ through
the straight. Lines of pine trees: which com­pose Thoreau’s orchard [recently burned
to the ground], he can cross the patch which
was cultivated with
six miles of beans by the ‘Walden hermit.”2

William H. Forbes.

From the Concord Guide Book by George
B. Bartlett.


THE STORY   OF CONCORD as Told by Concord Writers

Edited by Josephine
Latham Swayne, 1911

Pages 254-256

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