Category Archives: Medfield State Hospital

MSH stories


Medfield State Hospital stories

An update from the MAPC and CAM (Cultural Alliance of Medfield) regarding their upcoming “Let’s Talk” event on July 11, 2019 at the Zullo Gallery, from the MAPC website:

MAPC (Metropolitan Area Planning Council) is providing technical assistance to the Town of Medfield to facilitate the activation of the Medfield State Hospital campus with place-making activities that will set the course for future creative uses at the site. MAPC is working collaboratively with the Town of Medfield, the Cultural Alliance of Medfield, and an advisory committee composed of local residents and artists from Medfield and surrounding towns to plan a series of events starting on June 23, 2019 and continuing through May 2020.

The sprawling 661,000 square foot site of the former Medfield State Hospital sits on a hilltop overlooking the banks of the Charles River and boasts 39 historic buildings that are organized according to a Cottage Plan campus-style layout. Acquired by the Town of Medfield in 2014, the site is a unique and exciting terrain for creative reuse and renovation. The strategy will involve activating the church—which is slated to become the centerpiece of a future performing arts center—as well as the porches that grace the other buildings throughout the campus.


For more information about the project, contact Hortense Gerardo, Artist in Residence, at

Fringe tree at MSH

The unusual fringe tree, part of the arboretum of interesting trees at the former Medfield State Hospital site, is in full bloom now, and is worth a visit.

fringe tree-20190601

Former long time Town of Medfield Tree Warden, Ellis Allen, prepared and shared the tree map that appears below.  He did not note the fringe tree, so I added it.  When the fringe tree is not in bloom it is totally unremarkable.  There were two more much smaller fringe trees at the site, but they were cut down.  Ellis also did not include the interesting line of larch trees along the Charles River Link Trail path that he told me about.  That trail runs along the Charles from the Overlook to a hemlock grove high above the river.  That area just was not on Ellis’ map.  a row of many towering larchs line the path on the right just after crossing the brook.  Larchs look like evergreens, but are deciduous.

·~ s-Pecte-s o '1=-r-'RGz:-s A-r Mt:::JJ~f~ ~~. U.d5 .. Pc.T .• .P ..t L,. .. .. ' £ = Pfkfng lot I . . ,.. , .. '• ., ~ .,..h.., __ .. ,.. . r .t . ' __.._/ --- (._ __,. ... _______ ~~ :_TO ROUTE 27 ,_,·-0-S"r""P-IT-Ar. ROAr; ~ .. 'I ·.·· .• .. ·::: ·: ·~ • • • • ••• • • • 0 ' , •• ·-.•=·. .. • . . •.. • . . . . . ... ·•· ........ ~ .. : ,· .·. ,. I ~ ...· .; . :~;:~~· .·..· .·., (:~ "'·· f{)(')r.- I : SPECIES OF TREES AT MEDFIELD STATE HOSPITAL TREE# CO!vnviON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME 1 American Beech Fagus grandifolia 2 American Elm Ulmus americana 3 Apple Malus spp. 4 Arbotyita" Thuja occidentalis s Black Cherry Prunus serrotina 6 Black Oak Quercus velutina 7 Canadian Hemlock Tsuga canadensis 8 Chinese Chestnut Castanea mollissima 9 Coloracto Blue Spruce Picea pungens glauca 10 Eum!L~ Beech . Fagus sylvatica 11 European PI etree Platanus occidentalis 12 Flowering Che Prunus spp. 13 Flowering Crabapp Malus spp. 14 Flowering Dogwood Comus florida 15 Fraiser Fir Abies fraseri 16 Goldenchain Tree Laburnum Vossi 17 Gray Birch Betula populifolia 18 Green Ash · Fraxinus pennsylvanica 19 Horsechestnut Aesculus hippocastinum 20 Japanese Maple Acer palmatum sp. 21 Japanese Tree Lila~ Syqnga reticulata 22 Little LeafLfuden Tilia cordauf · I 23 ~ocker.nutF.ficko~ Carya spp. 24 Moraine Locust Gleditsia tricanthos inennis 25 Mountain Ash Sorbus··americana 26 Northern Catalpa Catalpa speciosa . 27 Norway Maple Acer platanoides 28 Norway Spruce Picea abies 29 Paperbark Maple Acer griseum 30 Pin Oak Quercus palustris 31 Pitch Pine Pinus rigida 32 Red Cedar Juniperus virginiana 33 Red Oak Quercus rubrum 34 Red Pine Pinus resinosa 35 Sassafrass Sassafrass albidum 36 Saucer Magnolia Magnolia soulangiana 37 Scarlet Oak . -: Quercus coccinia - --- -- 38 S.iberian Elm Ulm~ paiVifol.ia 39 Sourwood Oxydendren arboreum 40 Sugar Maple Acer saccharum 41 Sweet gum Liquidamber styraciflua 42 Tuliptree ~. Liriodendren tulipfera 43 Tupelo Nyssa sylvatica 44 White. Ash Fraxinus americana 45 WhiteOak . Quercus alba· 46 White Pine Pinus strobus 47 Yellowwood Cladrastis I utea 48 White Fir Abies concolor 49 Red Maple Acerrubrum so White Birch Betula alba l)l F~~ee~~Tree map by Ellis Allen2 _Page_2

And here is what the canoe launch along that stretch of trail looked like when it was originally constructed.  Now the flat stones in the left photo are invisible in  the river under water and mud.


Brass band and family activities at MSH – 6/15

From Jean Mineo, President, Cultural Alliance of Medfield,


Dad’s Brass Band tubist Don Rankin joins Tom Duprey on trumpet for a recent taping at Medfield TV.

Brass band and family activities offered June 15 at Medfield State Hospital


Families looking for a fun, free activity on Father’s Day weekend can head to the Lee Chapel grounds at the Medfield State Hospital (45 Hospital Road) from 1:30 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 15, to catch “Dad’s Brass Band” from 2-4 p.m., as well as lawn games that will kick off at 1:30 p.m.


In addition to the band performance and games, other featured activities include a community art project with Kurt Jackson and hands-on papermaking with artist May Babcock. Ruby’s Ice Cream Truck will also be on hand to sell treats.


Organized by the Cultural Alliance of Medfield (CAM), the afternoon event is a way to bring community members together to enjoy the property, and see the potential for future arts and cultural activities on the picturesque grounds. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket. In the event of rain, music and activities will take place inside the Lee Chapel.


Performers in the “Dad’s Brass Band” include Medfield residents Don Rankin on tuba, and Tom Duprey on trumpet. Rankin is principal tubist with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and Boston Ballet Orchestra; Duprey performs in a number of ensembles, and teaches music in Dover-Sherborn schools and at the college level.


May Babcock is a Rhode Island artist who works in papermaking, printmaking, book arts and art installations. She is known for incorporating materials from a given environment into her projects.


Look for further details on the CAM website, and be sure to check out the Medfield TV promotional video on its YouTube Channel

MSH June 15 2019 event IMAGE

New Life 5k Trail Run 2019

From Tod Dimmick –

new life run 2019-3

Dear Medfield Community,

The members of the New Life 5k Trail Run Committee would like to thank our community for their continuing support of the New Life 5k Trail Run, now in its 2nd year.

Saturday, May 11th, featured perfect weather, an enthusiastic turnout, and impressive fund-raising. The Trail Run took a winding route through and between the historic Medfield State Hospital buildings, across verdant fields, through the woods, down along the scenic Charles River and back up to the hospital grounds. The event raised funds and awareness for New Life Furniture Bank of MA. RaceWire (an online race registration and race timing company) provided participants with official times and finish-line photos. We give special thanks to our lead sponsors: Eastern Bank, New Balance, and Hometown Weekly; our Chip Timing Sponsors: Choate, Frank Webb Home, Rich & Susan Holbrook, and the Louis & Mary Kay Smith Family Foundation; as well as many other generous sponsors and in-kind donors. We greatly appreciate their support.  Hard-working volunteers helped make the entire event run smoothly. Close to 300 runners and walkers participated, including individuals and teams. Music and outdoor games entertained all. We are very grateful to the Town of Medfield for the use of such an idyllic setting.

Carmen Luisi was the overall winner for the females and Andy Gardiner was the winner for the males. Visit to view images of the race which capture the spirit of this fun event and its unique setting.

Executive Director Rich Purnell noted that these are exciting times at New Life. “We are growing quickly, and becoming an essential part of helping families transition out of homelessness or other forms of displacement,” he said. “The Trail Run was a great success. We raised funds to help us continue our mission and shared our organization with a wonderful group of people. We are so grateful to our sponsors and to those who participated.”

At New Life Furniture Bank of MA, we are proud to have served almost 1,900 households since our founding five years ago. Over this time period, we have provided not just 23,000 pieces of furniture, but helped to create a stable home for our clients and kept these items out of landfills. All of this has been made possible by the 800 volunteers who contributed 24,000 hours of their time and energy. Our Medfield-based not-for-profit organization operates a Donation Center in Walpole, and serves the MetroWest and Greater Boston area. New Life provides a meaningful option for local residents who are downsizing, renovating or disposing of a loved one’s property. Learn more about supporting, donating to, or volunteering for New Life Furniture Bank at

Thank you for being part of the New Life 5k Trail Run, an event we hope will become a growing community tradition. Stay tuned for updates next fall on the Third Annual 5k!


The New Life Trail Run Committee

MPD at MSH tomorrow

MPD-better badge

From Chief Guerette:

The Police Department will be conducting a multi-agency training event at the State Hospital grounds on Wednesday, May 22 from 8-3. Do not be alarmed at the increased police activity. If you would like to come to say hello, please remain outside of the designated training area for your safety

DCAMM giving sweeter deals

From Newton Mayor Fuller’s weekly email – DCAMM gives Newton a better deal than Medfield was offered for the former Medfield State Hospital site –


West Newton armory

New Use for West Newton Armory
This morning I sent a request to the City Council to authorize the purchase of the West Newton Armory Building and land at 1135 Washington Street just outside West Newton Square.
The City of Newton is being presented with an opportunity both to obtain a special historic building and to increase the supply of vital affordable housing for the price of $1.00.
The Commonwealth is willing to sell the building to the City for $1.00 only if it is used for affordable housing in perpetuity, a use in which I believe deeply, and which also allows the City to control what happens to this important building.
The need for more affordable housing throughout Newton continues to persist. Some have thoughtfully asked how it came to be that the City of Newton could obtain the Armory for $1.00, but only for one hundred percent permanently affordable housing. Through our discussion with the Commonwealth’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) representatives, we learned that there were two scenarios under which the City could take control of the Armory; however, only the scenario of one hundred percent affordable housing presented the option for the City to purchase the property for $1.00.
The other scenario would allow the City to acquire the Armory for a municipal/direct public use at a price that reflected the type of use. DCAMM has sold properties in other municipalities under this scenario at 25 percent of full and fair market value. Based on the current $4.3 million assessed value of the Armory (likely less than appraised value), Newton would pay approximately $1 million to purchase the property.
Another scenario results if the City declines the opportunity to purchase the Armory; DCAMM would then sell the property on the open market to the highest bidder.
My vision for the West Newton Armory is that the City purchase it and retain ownership (as required by the state). Then we would lease it to an affordable housing development partner who will redevelop and manage the property as 100 percent affordable housing.
I am very excited about this opportunity to add much-needed affordable housing, especially in such a unique and well-located building. I look forward to the next few years of collaboration with the honorable City Council and our residents as we work together to bring the West Newton Armory back to life.
Read my letter to the City Council with more information about the Armory HEREunder Other Communications.


New Life 5k Trail Run – 2018 photos

I missed the other photo –

New Life 2018 GetInShapeForWomenNew Life 5k - GNRC at