top of page

Hillside Woods


Hillside Woods puddingstone outcroppings(1).JPG

Hillside Woods is a landlocked property zoned open space-parkland owned by the city of Boston, more than an acre in size. It runs between the rear yards of Hillside Street to the north and Calumet to the south. The topography is steep behind the houses on Calumet. The only street connection is with Parker Street, between Hillside and Parker Hill Avenue, currently fenced in above the small stone outcropping.
Of particular interest to this site are the huge blocks of puddingstone scattered across the upper slope. The presence of cleanly cut stone indicates that this was likely a former quarry site in the 19th century. The land has an abundance of trees- Red and Pin oaks, Sugar maple, Bitternut hickory, American elm, and Black locust. On the ground, under rocks and discarded
plastic are copious Eastern Red Back Salamanders. Much of the canopy is the invasive Norway maple.
Maps of the area from as far back as 1873 show a road into the site, labeled Prospect Street on some maps. If such a road existed, it does not appear to have been covered with cobblestone or paved and no houses were built there.
The road could have been an access road to the quarry, but further documentation about this use of the site is needed. The Hillside Woods are currently owned by the Mayor’s Office Housing formerly known as the Department of Neighborhood Development. The abutters historically advocated for the open space zoning protection and occasionally have
discussed the possibility of forming a land trust. At a meeting in the woods this summer the idea was revisited. Abutters are supportive of the plan to restore the woods to a cared for natural area.
Unfortunately, the woods have been mistreated for many years with dumping and trash from the Calumet Street side. As a result, there is copious plastic residue in various states of decomposition, along with aluminum cans, glass bottles, furniture and construction debris littering the site. Abutters and neighbors, having witnessed debris being thrown from back porches, would like tenants and landlords to be accountable.
This fall 2023 about half the area was cleared of trash, and we were able to plant a total of 29 seedling trees: twenty six Red oak, two Ginkgoes and one Black locust. Trees were grown and donated to Mission Hill Green by Zara Zsido, a Boston tree farmer. All trees were protected from rabbits by wire mesh fencing.

bottom of page