Fowler Clark Epstein Urban Farm, Mattapan, MA
It requires a stretch of the imagination to envision the 300-acre farm and open fields and forests that once surrounded the house (ca. 1786) and barn (ca. 1874) at the Fowler Clark Epstein site. Just as the urban streets and three-story homes that now define this inner-city neighborhood have hidden the agricultural history of Mattapan, each of the three families that occupied the farm over the past 230 years transformed the site, layering their improvements and renovations over the original buildings and grounds to create the forms we see today.
The Epstein family is responsible for the majority of the landscape features that currently define the site. These features largely consist of an eclectic assembly of stone and brick walls, several of which contain wonderful architectural elements salvaged from older buildings in Boston. The outdoor spaces including brick and stone patios, stone walkways, and a cobblestone driveway to the barn with a hand-laid brick “E” emblem, cover a wide range of styles, quality of construction, and state of repair.
Together with the Trust for Public Land, the local historical commission, and members of the at-large community, Regenerative Design Group is working to re-establish this former farmstead as a center of agricultural activity in the Mattapan neighborhood of Boston. Many of the unique and exemplary architectural features of the historic buildings will be preserved or reused, while the surrounding areas will once again produce healthy fruits and vegetables for local consumption. Universally accessible paths and buildings will ensure that all community members can come to appreciate this living testimony to the former families who lived and worked the land.