The Maple Street Gate and Friends

The Maple Street Gate and Friends

If you ever had occasion to walk from the Robbins Library or the Rogers Pierce playground to Maple St, you likely noticed that the historic Maple Street Gate was in need of repair. The doorknob and latch disappeared long ago and sections had become very loose and required restoration.

The Friends of the Robbins Town Gardens, of which I am a founding member, incorporated in June 2015. The Friends assists the Town of Arlington to protect, preserve, restore, and maintain the historic landscape and features in the Winfield Robbins Memorial Gardens as well as the grounds surrounding the Town Hall and the Whittemore-Robbins House. Noticing that the gate was in disrepair, the Friends encouraged the town to repair it. This past April, the gate was restored and the repaired sections were painted. The remainder of the gate will be painted soon.

The Maple Street Gate has long had friends within the Arlington community. In May 1995, shortly after moving into our new home on Maple Street, we accepted an invitation to a “Victorian Garden Party to celebrate the restoration of the Maple Street Fence” at the Whittemore-Robbins House. Among the hostesses dressed in Victorian attire, was a fellow Maple Street resident who has become a dear friend.

Over the years, I had come to enjoy another friendship with longtime Maple Street resident, Morton C. Bradley, “Bob” to those who knew him well. Mr. Bradley, art conservator and sculptor with Indiana roots and Harvard education, owned a number of the houses on Maple and Academy Streets. Mr. Bradley shared many stories about the history of our neighborhood and gave me a once in a lifetime opportunity to see some of the art within his collection and some of the artwork he was working to restore.


One of the stories that Mr. Bradley shared with me and that I have yet to verify concerns the Maple Street Gate. He claimed that after the Whittemore-Robbins House was moved to make space for the Robbins Library, the Robbins family asked to purchase a small strip of land from the Myron Taylor family who owned 19 Maple Street. He claimed that they wanted the land to create easy access to their home for friends and visitors from the southern side of Massachusetts Avenue.  As I continue to try to confirm this story; I am drawn to the idea….we will do whatever it takes for our friends. How can we not love the idea of a gate to welcome friends and neighbors?

Respectfully submitted,

Catherine Bartlett-Hirani, Founding Member of the Friends of the Robbins Town Gardens

19 Maple Street