Trolley Shelter Restoration Campaign
What’s that little fieldstone building opposite the entrance to Swan Point Cemetery? It’s a trolley shelter and it’s listed on the National Registry of Historical Places.
The building was built in 1905 to last at least one hundred years. In 2007, finding that its deteriorated condition had become hazardous to the public, we began a campaign to restore it and enhance the surrounding site.
We have now completed Phase I of a campaign to restore it at a cost of $35,720.00, covered by $10, 000 from Swan Point Cemetery, a $10,000 grant from the Champlin Foundations, and $15,720 in donations from the community. We hired Cornelis DeBoer, an architect with extensive experience in restoring historic properties including the administrative building and chapel at Swan Point Cemetery. Working with the original plans from the archives at the Cemetery, he developed a restoration plan that was skillfully carried out by Stephenson Construction. Phase I work completed in 2009 included the removal and replacement of the cedar roof shingles and installation of new red copper valleys and a drip edge around the roof perimeter. Much of the historic lattice work was replaced and dislodged boulders were reset and mortared.
Phase II of the project began in Summer 2010 with the installation of native flowering trees, perennials, and spring bulbs, in a plan designed by Alex Knott at East Side Eden, and donated by Butler Hospital. The garden has been enhanced by the addition of rocks and stones, many donated by Swan Point Cemetery.
Phase III will bring power to the building for interior and exterior lighting. A new electric light pole has been installed just to the south of the Shelter and wiring will be installed inside the building to provide low-level lighting and electrical power for events. We may add historical and educational signs. The original plans showed that benches were located inside the shelter and we are hopeful that they will be reinstalled in the future.
The trolley shelter is well on its way to becoming a vibrant community gathering place. Two very popular summer concert series have been held at the site, underwritten by local sponsors (Whole Foods of Waterman Street, 2009, Butler Hospital, 2010). Meetings of community groups such as churches and the Blackstone Parks Conservancy have taken place there, as well as numerous informal meetings of walkers, runners and birders.