Boston's Metropolitan Past: Baxter & Eliot's 1893 Plan






learn about the context






find out what happened






The Authors


Secretary to the Commission

"Sylvester Baxter was a Malden journalist who became an expert on urban planning, and public recreation. Born a West Yarmouth in 1850 in a family with Mayflower antecedents, he joined the staff of the Boston Advertiser in 1871. Four years later, his paper sent him to Europe as its foreign correspondent and upon his return in 1880, he wrote for the Boston Herald. An intimagte friend of the landscape architect Charles Eliot, a consultant to the Board of Metropolitan Park Commissioners in 1892-93, Baxter became its secretary, and held the same post for the Metropolitan Improvement Commission in 1907-09. Around 1891, Baxter settled in Malden, where he acquired the Malden News, and edited and published Outing Magazine. Among his works were articles on European city planning, several travel books on New England, and a lavishly illustrated history of Spanish Colonial architecture in Mexico. He died in 1927, at San Juan, Puerto Rico." (Merino, 196)


CHARLES ELIOT (1859-1897)

Consultant to the Commission

"Charles Eliot was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he also received his education. He was a landscape architect in private practice from 1887 until his death from spinal meningitis ten years later. He also distinguished himself as a landscape historian, as an advocate for regional planning, and as a pioneer in landscape conservation. His reputation rests on two key accomplishments. First, he was the leading force in the 1891 establishment of the Massachusetts' Trustees of Public Reservations, the first statewide, private-sector organization for the conservation of natural areas and the preservation of historic sites, which became a model for subsequent efforts such as the National Trust in Great Britain and, ultimately, the National Trust in the United States. Second, Eliot was a central figure in the creation of the Boston Metropolitan Park system, the first regional landscape authority in the United States." (Morgan, 107 in Birnbaum and Karson)






















return to moga at mit

MIT 4.213J/11.308J Urban Nature and City Design (Fall 2005)