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
  • AT TAMMY

    Courtesy photo Megan McCann, left, and Melanie Scharn, right, have launched a fundraising campaign to assist Tammy Jusczak, center, a longtime toddler teacher at Bright Horizons in Andover who is battling cancer.

    A bright spot: Co-workers, parents support day-care teacher with cancer Posted 1 day ago 1 Photo
  • AT GARDEN CLUB MEMBERS

    Frances Y.J. Wheeler/Courtesy photo Andover Garden Club welcomes new members, from left, Donna Rudolph, Chris McDermott, Paula Eriksen, Erin Ryan, Debbie Freedman, Anne Collins, Barbara Reichter, Isabel Seely, Caroline Grady and Heather Moody Holman as club president Anne Feeney, left rear, looks on. Fellow new member Linda Shottes Bouchard is missing from the photo.

    Growth spurt for Andover Garden Club Posted 1 day ago 1 Photo
  • AT HOWARD KOH

    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES/Courtesy photo Dr. Howard Koh will step down as U.S. assistant secretary for health after five years to rejoin Harvard School of Public Health this fall in a new position in its Department of Health Policy and Management.

    Koh to rejoin Harvard School of Public Health Posted 15 days ago 1 Photo
  • 48 locals to pedal in Pan-Mass Challenge Posted 15 days ago
  • AT HANNAH CURRIE

    Courtesy photo Hannah Currie is spending 10 days this summer becoming immersed in the music industry at GRAMMY Camp in Los Angeles.

    Currie hits note at LA's GRAMMY Camp Posted 15 days ago 1 Photo
  • Thursday, July 10, 2014
  • South Church names new senior pastor Posted 22 days ago
  • AT BOYS GIRLS CLUB GOLF1

    COURTESY PHOTO Andover residents Patrick James, left, Adam Geaslen, Ryan Byrd and Dan Bryant claimed first place at the 35th annual Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence Golf Tournament at Indian Ridge Country Club in town.

    Local foursome aces Boys & Girls Club tourney Posted 22 days ago 2 Photos
  • AT LOCKS SISTERS2

    COURTESY PHOTO The Marble sisters --Anna, 8, left, and Isabel, 11 -- post-donatin to Locks of Love.

    Sisters pair up to donate pony tails to Locks of Love Posted 22 days ago 4 Photos
  • AT HOST1

    DESI SMITH/Staff photo Former Andover residents Dana Cohen and his wife, Ginny, back, left, have regularly hosted foreign exchange students since 1989. Farrah Moussa, back right, from Egypt, and Paula Valverde, front right, from Spain, are the latest students to spend a year with the Cohens, who now live in Gloucester.

    Former Andover couple welcomes exchange students for quarter-century Posted 22 days ago 4 Photos
  • Thursday, July 3, 2014
  • LENO1

    FILE PHOTO Jay Leno, who honed his comedy skills growing up in Andover, will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this fall during a performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

    In good comedy company Posted 29 days ago 2 Photos

Pictures of the Week
Stocks