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Brook Farm Walking Tour Celebrates History of Historic Site

The Gardens at Gethsemane host a walking tour of Brook Farm guided by Bob Murphy of the West Roxbury Historical Society to a group of people all ages.

The hosted an interactive tour of  on Sunday. While the weather forecast called for impending rain, people still participated in the tour prepared with jackets and umbrellas.

The ever-ready Alan MacKinnon, president of the Gardens cemetery, was also prepared with massive tents set up to keep the food, refreshments, and people dry. Before the tour started, MacKinnon shared his excitement about the event.

"I'm happy the rain held off," said MacKinnon. "This is historic property. This should be a good tour."

The event started off with good conversation and a relaxing musical atmosphere. The DJ set the mood for the cloudy day playing, "Rain, Rain, Go Away" as Bob Murphy, of the gave the first part of his tour underneath the tents due to the rain.

Local children were excited to learn that there was so much history right in their backyards, while some of the grownups thought that the tour could be a great way to get some exercise.

"We came for a nice, long walk in the woods," said Esther and Howard Luckett. 

The tour did not remain under the tents the entire time. Murphy quickly set out to venture off onto the walking tour of the Brook Farm, which the participants would quickly learn was a breeding ground for the early movements of transcendentalists. 

Murphy also told the tour tales of the utopian elements of the transcendentalists, often regarded as Boston intellectuals from the 1850s. Brook Farm was a community that was physically and intellectually stimulated through learning and manual labor. 

Aside from the transcendentalist and agriculture communities on Brook Farm, the tour focused on another element of the historical site. The site also used to be a Civil War training camp for volunteer soldiers.

Brook Farm's frequent visitors during the 1840s consisted of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, John Sullivan Dwight, George Ripley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and it was noted that Henry David Thoreau stopped by once passing through Massachusetts. 

After a the tour of Brook Farm ended, the Cemetery's staff with the help of Eunice Davis provided food for those on the tour. 

And with baked fish, grilled chicken, grilled steak tips, sausage, and peppers, that appetite was quickly satisfied. 

This tour not only satisfied the taste buds of everyone who participated, but it also satisfied the thirst for knowledge as well.

"I've heard Bob [Murphy] speak twice before this and I just learn a little more each time," said Phyllis Meserlian. "He has a great depth of knowledge."

With more than 25 years of being a local historian and documenting more than 300 names of people who lived on Brook Farm, that knowledge is available to you through the West Roxbury Historical Society.

"People take two facts and come up with something completely new. Isn't that what they always do," says Murphy when describing a possible reason why one of the grounds were called the Margaret Fuller cottage.

Like Henry David Thoreau once said, "Be true to your work, your word, and your friend."

Bob Murphy was true to his work, his word, and was a great friend on the tour.

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