Growth and EvolutionFollowing Hubbard’s wishes in his 1899 bequest of the property, the city created a parks commission to guide the design and development of what was, at the time, a treeless, grassy pasture. Landscape architect Dana F. Dow was hired in 1907 to design carriage roads and plantings to restore the forest cut clear in the previous century. He also suggested construction of an observation tower overlooking the city and the State House. Although a local myth persists that the tower was never quite completed, in fact it was designed to resemble the ruins of a medieval fortress. Construction of the tower began in 1915 after completion of an access roadway, now Hubbard Park Drive, and it continued seasonally— using stones gathered from the stone walls that had previously defined pastures—until completion in 1930.
Community CultureThe Civilian Conservation Corps made major improvements to the park between 1933 and 1936. Roads were widened, ditched and graveled, providing both east and west access to the park. Thousands of Norway spruce and red pines were planted, and picnic areas were established. But by the early 1980s, when current Parks Director and Tree Warden Geoff Beyer started as a part-time worker, seasonal maintenance of the park was something of a free-for-all. At the time, the park was open only for two- and-a half months during the warm weather. Among its problems were off- road motorcyclists tearing up trails and sensitive plant life, and commuters taking a shortcut through the steep, gravel roads at unsafe speeds. Perhaps the most egregious problem was partying at the tower. Beyer recalls sweeping up and hauling out as much as 20 pounds of broken glass three times a week.
Stories about Hubbard Park