Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Help arrives for Ames Mansion at Easton’s Borderland State Park

EASTON — After years of water seeping through cracks and crevices and damaging the interior of the Ames mansion at Borderland State Park, the building is going to get some needed attention and care.

Thanks to a recent $296,000 allotment from the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, masonry will be repaired, parapets will be cleaned, and windows and doors will be replaced in the 100-year-old building.

“(The mansion) has been on our list of preferred maintenance projects for some time,” DCR Commissioner Ed Lambert said. “We always want to try to prioritize our investments so we don’t lose our resources.”

Lambert said the work will begin in early July and be completed by September. He said this latest round of repairs is in addition to $250,000 spent since 2007 to maintain the mansion.

“We recognize the legacy of the Ames family not only in Massachusetts but nationally,” Lambert said. “We think this is an appropriate use of the Commonwealth’s resources.”

Visitors will notice scaffolding at the mansion for the work starting in July, according to park ranger Ellenor Yahrmarkt.

“This will complete the exterior repointing which has been a five-year project,” Yahrmarkt said. “It’s not going to close anything.”

She also said other updates at the mansion include the addition of 48 arborvitae shrubs, restoring historical landscapes, and renovations at the rock garden, projects co-sponsored by the Friends of Borderland.

Sen. Brian A. Joyce, D-Milton, a strong proponent for the park, said the repairs are long overdue.

“It really is a historic gem that has been somewhat neglected,” Joyce said.

He said he is working to create a Borderland State Park Trust, a measure that has already passed the Senate, to keep the parking fees collected at the park in the park’s budget to fund future capital improvements and maintenance.

Currently all money from a $2 parking fee charged to use the park go into the state’s general fund. Those fees amounted to $300,000 last year, according to Joyce.

Construction of the mansion began in 1910 and was completed in 1912. It remained a home for Oakes and Blanche Ames and their family until 1971 when it and the surrounding land was purchased by the state and turned into a state park.