Frothingham Park is a memorial to Louis Adams Frothingham, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1921 to 1928. It was dedicated to the town of Easton on September 27, 1930 by his wife, Mary Ames Frothingham.
Born in 1867, Mary Ames Frothingham, the daughter of Frederick Lothrop Ames Frothingham grew up on Langwater estate with her brothers. She devoted much of her life to charity work. At age 49, she married Louis A. Frothingham.
On August 23, 1928, the 57-year old Louis Frothingham died suddenly. A grieving Mary Frothingham seeking a memorial for her husband, launched the Louis A. Frothingham Memorial Corporation to build a park for the townspeople of Easton and to refurbish the Barrows Street Hall into a civic center in honor of Congressman Frothingham.
Before purchasing the land on which the park was built, Josiah Goward owned the land that stretched from Center Street. Goward’s pond was situated where the athletic field currently lies and was needed for ice for keeping beef in the slaughter house which was located a couple of hundred feet away from the pond. When Mr. Goward passed away, the slaughter house and ice house became dysfunctional due to non-use. The pond was used for skating and hockey in the winter, and fishing in the springtime. The pond was later drained in 1936.
The layout of the park was designed by Joseph Lee of Harvard University, president of the Playground Association of America. It was the same company that built the Harvard stadium. Real steam shovels and steam rollers were used to erect the building. The park cost $98,785.05 in 1930 dollars.
On September 27, 1930, the formal dedication took place for the Louis A. Frothingham Memorial Park. Hundreds of adults and children attended the ceremony. The bronze tablet rock boulder was unveiled by John and David Ames.
A white and green cottage was built for the Caretaker John C. Mason who managed the park and ensured it stayed in the best shape. He lived in the cottage rent free in exchange for taking care of the park. He stayed in the job until 1961.
Town’s Athletic Center
The park replaced the Plains, formerly the Lathrop’s Plain off Lincoln Street by Militia park, as the new athletic center of Easton. With the new dedication, the Oliver Ames High School sports teams and the Huskies made the park their new home.
During the Great Depression, the park offered an outlet for those unemployed and restless. Its vivid and serene ambiance created harmony in a gloomy era. A basektball court was built in 1941 adding to the delight of basketball fans.
In 1972, Robert Buddy Wooster took over as superintendant and oversaw the most dramatic changes and improvements to the park. The underdeveloped east end of the park was groomed and beautified with the addition of a lovely fountain. The Park Street entrance and ramp were added.
The Board of Directors
In 1978 the board was made up of David Ames, Jr, Wayne Evans, William Ames, Patricia DeCoste, David Marsan, Alfred Morse, Douglas Porter, and Leo McEvoy, Jr. The board walked through the park once a year which gave them the chance to make decisions around changes and improvements. Planting grass, shrubs and trees were central to making the park beautiful and lush.
The park became more popular with track and field events for elementary and Easton Middle schools. Varsity and junior varsity football and baseball teams began playing there.
In 1979, Principal Duncan Oliver of Oliver Ames High School moved the graduation ceremonies to the park which allowed for a larger audience of proud parents and friends.
Today, Frothingham Memorial Park continues to be a delightful, meaningful place for the residents of Easton, so full of history and joy.
Photos: Courtesy of Easton Historical Society