The Ames’ family influence is still very much in evidence in the town of Easton. Among other things, their name graces the town library and high school, as well as the imposing Oakes Ames Memorial Hall, one of five Henry Hobson Richardson-designed structures in North Easton village.
The property was first home to Oliver Ames who served as Massachusetts’ governor from 1887–1890, and who hosted some of the most notable figures of the 19th century, including architect Henry Hobson (H.H.) Richardson and landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed the landmark Victorian buildings and the Rockery. The estate was transformed forever by 1909 after first Governor Ames and then his wife, Anna, died. Their children moved away and the mansion was later razed.
Today, more than a century later, saplings planted by Ames thrive as old specimen trees and pepper the property, which includes a 19th-century stone stable, farm fields, a brook and several garden ponds.
With support from the Town of Easton and the state’s LAND grant program, The Trustees purchased the property in 2012 from the David Ames family and Elizabeth Ames. The Easton Community Preservation Committee also committed significant monetary resources to the effort, some of which was reimbursed by the Commonwealth’s LAND program. In addition, The Trustees raised money to fund transaction, startup, and renovation costs and establish a modest endowment for ongoing stewardship.