Greetings from a sunny but cold Easton! Some new snowfall tonight proves Punxsutawney Phil got it right this year. Hopefully he'll predict an early spring next year!
One of Easton's real treasures is Borderland State Park. If you have been there you know what I am talking about! The former home of Oakes and Blanche Ames, it was gifted to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the enjoyment of all. Oakes was a professor and chair of the Botany Department at Harvard, and the leading expert on orchids. Blanche was many things including a leader in the Women's Suffrage movement, an inventor, and noted artist. The mansion is spectacular, the grounds are wonderfully full of historical features, and natural features including ponds, granite quarries, glacial erratics, and too many special things to list here. You really have to go there and experience it to get the best out of it. Borderland is also one of our four National Historic Districts in Easton. One of the hallmarks of Borderland has been the top notch people who work there. There have only been a few park supervisors since the opening of the park in 1971: Roger "Pete" McNamara, Robert Babineau, and most recently, Ellenor Simmons. Ellenor began at Borderland in 1994, and has served in many rolls including Visitor Service Supervisor, and then Park Supervisor in the early 2000's. She developed many of the programs that the Park offers. What you may not know is the dedication and passion she has for Borderland. Ellenor is a true professional, and a great person. Her tireless efforts at the Park include working with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to acquire funding for the Park, working to improve conditions, working to get equipment and repairs done, working with the Borderland Advisory Council and the Friends of Borderland, and I could go on and on. She does not just "work" at the Park, she "knows" the Park, and in many cases, she "is" the Park. Achieving the success she had at the Park has led her into a new role with DCR, as Ellenor recently took on a regional position that is well-deserved. As hard as it is to have her leave Borderland, all the state parks in her region will now benefit from her passion, experience, and expertise. That is a win for all of us who value our state park system. Please join me in wishing all the best to Ellenor for continued future success, and thank her for doing so much for Borderland, and Easton!
Thanks to Melanie Kirylo and the Friends of Borderland for supplying information on Ellenor for this week's update.
Wishing you all a warm and sunny week, Frank
Frank T. Meninno
Curator, Easton Historical Society and Museum