Francis William Bird Park History

The reservation was created and endowed in 1925 as a public park by local industrialist Charles Sumner Bird, Sr. and his wife, Anna, in memory of their oldest son, Francis William Bird (1888-1918), who succumbed to pneumonia at age 37.

The Bird Family hired John Nolen to design the park. Nolen was a contemporary of The Trustees founder Charles Eliot and a disciple of Frederick Law Olmsted, landscape visionaries who were pioneers in creating parklands accessible to all.

This was a philosophy shared by Nolen, who also believed landscape design could be a tool for societal improvement. Bird Park’s network of pathways and attractive water courses were designed to offer the public an easy introduction to their natural surroundings.

In his original proposal for this property, Nolen envisioned “a sequestered breathing place–a combination of broad, sun-swept meadow lands, speckled with shadowed glades, higher tree-screened knolls for the lover of shade, the whole set to the music of a babbling stream.”

Frank Phillips Materials Regarding Bird Park (digital collection)
Digital versions of materials regarding members of the Bird Family, 1904–1942.

The Archives & Research Center welcomes donations of documents, manuscripts, records, photographs, maps and memorabilia that pertain to a particular property. Please contact us at 781.784.8200 or

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