- Department of Conservation & Recreation
Media Contact for DCR Provides Online Archival Access to 125 Years of Agency History
Olivia Dorrance, Press Secretary
BOSTON — In Celebration of 125 years of stewardship, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has announced digital access of the official minutes of DCR’s many legacy agencies, spanning from 1892 to 2003, on The Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library. The Commonwealth’s state properties, such as parks, forests, reservations, beaches, recreational facilities, parkways, and flood control facilities are documented in these pages. Such iconic state park facilities include the Hatch Memorial Shell, the Charles River Esplanade, Myles Standish State Forest, Mount Greylock State Reservation, and Revere Beach Reservation are documented, as is the former MDC Police; the former MDC Zoos (Stone Zoo and Franklin Park Zoo); the Metropolitan Water Works System (for example, Quabbin Reservoir; Wachusett Reservoir; Chestnut Hill Reservoir; Quabbin Park Cemetery); and the Metropolitan Sewerage System. Bunker Hill Monument is even documented as the MDC managed it from 1919-1975.
“Contained within the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s archives is a wealth of incredible history that explains how many of the state’s most celebrated parks, structures, and other facilities have been conserved and protected over the years,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “I am proud of the work that agency staff have committed to this incredible project, enabling for the first time members of the public with an opportunity to digitally explore the DCR’s history.”
125 years ago, DCR’s foundation began with the creation of a regional park system to preserve the Commonwealth’s natural resources for the public as the metropolitan areas of Boston continued to expand and regions of commerce developed across the state. More than 30 major government agencies and divisions evolved into what is now the DCR, and this newly available online collection represents the official minutes of many of those agencies, such as:
- The Metropolitan Park Commission Preliminary Board (1892-1893);
- Metropolitan Park Commission (1893-1919);
- Charles River Basin Commission (1903-1910);
- Metropolitan District Commission (1919-2003);
- State Forest Commission (1914-1919);
- Board of the Department of Natural Resources (1953-1975);
- Board of the Department of Environmental Management (1975-2003); and,
- The Wachusett Mountain State Reservation Commission (1899-1967).
The DCR state park system is the result of visionary designers, parks advocates, and professional foresters and government leaders who sought to create recreational lands, protect drinking water, mange forests, and improve quality of life for Massachusetts residents. These individuals include Charles Francis Adams (Chairman of both the MPC Preliminary Board, and at the start of the MPC in 1893), Sylvester Baxter (Secretary to the MPC Preliminary Board), Charles Eliot (landscape architect for the MPC), Guy Lowell (architect and landscape architect for the Charles River Basin Commission), the Olmsted Brothers (landscape architects for the Metropolitan Park Commission), Harold Parker (Commissioner for both Wachusett Mountain State Reservation Commission, and the State Forest Commission), Frank W. Rane (state forester), and Arthur A. Shurcliff (landscape architect).
The volumes and pages of minutes were saved through the efforts of DCR’s Archivist, Sean M. Fisher, and are currently held by both DCR and the Massachusetts State Archives. As the research repository for the permanent records of the Executive branch agencies of the Commonwealth, all of the volumes and pages scanned through this project will be available at the Massachusetts Archives in the forthcoming years. DCR wishes to thank the leadership and staff at the Massachusetts Archives for working with DCR’s archivist on this project. Scanning these minutes will significantly increase access while at the same time preserving the original volumes for future generations.
To celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Commonwealth’s stewardship of public outdoor space, DCR, in cooperation with the Massachusetts State Archives, contracted with The Internet Archive to digitize and make available online 60,385 pages of minutes. To begin exploring these documents please visit The Internet Archive’s DCR webpage.