Dell, Big Rock, Small Park

March 19th, 2010 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

Dell Rock flagHow many fully dressed flagpoles do you suppose have ever occurred naturally? Likely fewer than one.

Hyde Park’s own Dell Rock is:

  • A protected urban wild
  • Well, a rock, a big rock
  • A haven for littering drunks
  • A bastion of patriotism if its flagpole is a fair indication

After passing what appeared from Hyde Park Avenue to be a big rock, I finally visited today. It is more but not much more. There’s a fair history to this Boston neighborhood, as part of town as well as its own and before when it was part of Milton and Dedham. Yet, this large hunk of puddingstone does not figure in the history, there is no account of a battle of Dell Rock, and certainly no pioneers to the region used it for anything in particular, a landing or otherwise.

Dell Rock rock faceA scamper up the rough path (no steps and some slippery chunks to surmount) takes you to what is allegedly 40 feet above HP Ave. In the winter with no deciduous  foliage and the right weather, you can make out the Blue Hills, as you can from 213 or so other places in HP.

If you look down and around from the top, you can find specimens of various local plants. Again, that’s not uncommon, but what do you want from an urban wild, foxes?

According to the city:

Dell Avenue Rock consists primarily of a puddingstone ledge arising approximately 40 feet above Hyde Park Avenue. There are some outcrops near the top of the rock. The site is dominated by woodland, comprised of small and medium sized maples, oaks, cherry, and birch with sparse, grassy ground cover. This site provides a pleasant visual buffer along a busy, dense stretch of Hyde Park Avenue. Views from the top of the rock overlook the Stony Brook Reservation and in the winter there are views of the Blue Hills. The open, grassy areas on the lower portion of the site provide a quiet retreat for picnics or reading.

Its database of urban wilds lists this park-like-object as 0.6 acres, down from 1976’s 1.3 acres, the rest apparently nibbled by HP development of the neighboring houses.

However, it is not not without a fan. Anyone who likes urban rocks might contact Rob Villegas, who appears to be a one-resident Friends of Dell Rock. He seems a bit of a poet, who writes:

 …it offers a feeling of surprising remoteness—wild, vertical, and hardscrabble as it is. It offers little rocky or grassy spots on different levels with secluded views where one could read, picnic, or, unfortunately as some do now, break glass and leave trash. Apparently the sunsets from its peak are amazing.

We might suppose he’d actually hie himself 40 feet up at a sunset, but perhaps he’s reserving that.

LitterMeanwhile, I do see that there are often teens up by the flagpole when I pass by during the day. Judging from today’s visit, they or other HP denizens are up there of an evening as well. Loutish lads and/or lasses have decorated the hilltop with the remains, all the remains, of a 30-pack of Bud Light, plus numerous smashed bottles and flattened six-pack cartons of laced tea, and other beer cans.

We can set aside set aside what this says of their parents and upbringing. We can also not deal with what this says of the commitment and budget of the city for upkeep of this extremely urban urban wild.

However, Boston and private groups have not totally ignored Dell Rock. For example, in 2008, a person or organization called “The Dell Rock Neighborhood Association” received a $2,000 grant from The New England Grassroots Environment Fund “To develop the Dell Rock Urban Wild site to make it more visually attractive and simpler to maintain. Also to work toward the ecological restoration of the site by removing non-native species and re-introducing native species.”

Having not seen it from from the top before, I can’t testify how well he, she or they used thaDell Rock wildt $2,000. We can surmise that he, she or they have not made a career of it.

Yet, it wouldn’t be a bad spot for a picnic up top…after a couple hours with gloves and trash bags. In fact, maybe a word to a few can-deposit gleaners would clear out the 50 or so beer cans, leaving only the paper and broken glass.

The ground level with its two steps would be less desirable for a breather. It provides an up-close and very loud cavalcade of  trucks, cars and buses — very urban, but not so wild in the nature sense.

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One Response

  1. Ydnic says:

    Thanks for the tour!

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