Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Townspeople

December 27, 2012

Enchanted Forest, Part II: How a dream sanctuary took wing

This is the second part, of a two-part Andover Stories.

By the spring of 1929, the construction of the Moncrieff Cochran Sanctuary, named after Thomas Cochran’s older brother, was in full swing on the campus of Phillips Academy. Although the original plan embracing the Rabbit Pond area was proving highly successful, Cochran envisioned something far more expansive. Looking beyond Rabbit Pond, Cochran saw the old Missionary Woods and beyond as a larger tract of land that he’d need to acquire to realize his plan for the school grounds.

Along with Charles Adams Platt, Cochran brought in the landscape expertise of the Olmsted brothers, who were already transforming the main school campus. Their remarkable body of work included New York’s Central Park, the Emerald Necklace, a linear system of parks including the Boston Common, Chicago’s Columbian World’s Fair, the landscape surrounding the U. S. Capital building in Washington, D. C., and dozens of college campuses across the country.

Cochran quietly purchased over 150 acres to the east of Samuel Phillips Hall.

With the vast amount of newly acquired land now in hand, the Olmsteds began to carve out the sanctuary. A brook running through the newly acquired property was dammed, creating two ponds providing a habitat for the sanctuary’s bird population. The land was reasonably well forested with oak, pine, maple, ash, and birch trees. The Olmsteds enhanced the natural beauty of the area adding azalea, blueberry, laurel and rhododendrons which would quickly grow and flourish.

Thomas Cochran’s vision was finally coming to life. Described in the Oct. 5, 1929 Phillipian, the Phillips Academy newspaper, the sanctuary was fast becoming “a fine park with beautiful broad roads and many wooded paths alive with birds, honeycombing the whole area.”

The Olmsted’s oversaw the construction of three miles of gravel roads and pedestrian-only bridges. Automobile traffic was not allowed. Further securing the vastly expanded grounds, Cochran commissioned a fence – 11,000 linear feet at a cost of $39,000. Popularly referred to at the time as the “Great Wall of Andover,” the fence surrounded the entire property where its remains stand today.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Townspeople
  • SCOUTS SKI1

    Courtesy Photo Boy Scout Troop 76 based at Ballard Vale Church in Andover traveled to Mt. Cranmore last month for its annual Ski Trip.

    Ski trip for Troop 76 Boy Scouts Posted 6 days ago 2 Photos
  • Kiwanis Club readies annual charitable Feast Posted 6 days ago
  • GREEK2

    Courtesy photo The students from Greek Language School of Andover demonstrate a traditional dance at Sts. Constantine and Helen Church during a program commemorating the 1821 Greek War of Independence.

    Celebration of Greek independence Posted 6 days ago 2 Photos
  • RITZER

    Share your memories of Colleen Ritzer Posted 13 days ago 1 Photo
  • 'Book of Golden Deeds' nominees sought Posted 13 days ago
  • IRONSTONE1

    Maya Schwinn-Clanton was paired with Wenzel in the "Shamrocks" group.

    A lucky day for young equestrians Posted 13 days ago 6 Photos
  • BRIDGE PLAYER1

    Courtesy Photo Norman Humer, right, with Mark Aquino at the Eastern Massachusetts Bridge Association winter sectional tournament.

    Townspeople Posted 13 days ago 2 Photos
  • Thursday, March 27, 2014
  • AT STEARNS

    William Stearns

    Townspeople Posted 20 days ago 1 Photo
  • YMCA INDIA

    Courtesy photo Participating in the Merrimack Valley YMCA Social Entrepreneurship Institute's recent 10-day trip to India were, bottom left to right, J. Shamila Doris, secretary of the Madurai YMCA, which is a parner to the local Y; Rev. S. Suyambu, general secretary of the Madurai YMCA; Stephen Ives, president and CEO of the Merrimack Valley YMCA; Deborah Hope, Merrimack Valley YMCA board member; Cathleen Landry, chief financial officer of the Merrimack Valley YMCA; Katie DesBois, director of grant management and research for the Merrimack Valley YMCA; Rosa Lopez, secretary of the Merrimack Valley YMCA board; Anne Whalen, executive director of the Methuen YMCA; Ali Beauchamp, business manager of the Lawrence YMCA; Shannon Delany, YMCA Day Camp Otter director' and Alex Turek, executive director of the Andover/North Andover YMCA

    YMCA leaders take entrepreneurial trip to India Posted 20 days ago 1 Photo
  • Thursday, March 20, 2014
  • MCQUADE2

    Courtesy photo Patients line up to receive free medical care in rural Louisiana. Navy Reserve Lt. Cmdr. Charles F. McQuade, a dentist from Andover, was among about 120 Navy and Air National Guard medical professionals who participated in Cajun Care.

    Local dentist pitches in for Operation Cajun Care Posted 27 days ago 2 Photos

Pictures of the Week
Stocks