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Selectmen Approve Conservation Restrictions on Gov. Ames Estate, Abutting Lands

The Gov. Ames Estate and portions of the Langwater Estate and historic Ames Gate Lodge will remain undeveloped, if approved by the State.

 

The Easton Board of Selectmen unanimously signed off on three restrictions designed to ensure that historic land near the center of town would always remain undeveloped.

Pending state approval, a conservation restriction will be placed on the 36-acre Governor Ames Estate. Additionally, there will be a conservation restriction on the abutting 15.8 acres of the Langwater Estate and a Historic Preservation Restriction on the Ames Gate Lodge and the 2.6 acres surrounding it. All three restrictions were approved by Selectmen this week.

The Trustees of Reservations, which recently acquired the Gov. Ames Estate, will fund the Langwater Estate conservation restriction. The Gate Lodge historic preservation restriction will be funded by Historic New England, a regional heritage organization.

The restrictions on the Langwater Estate and Gate Lodge, which are still owned by the Ames family, are "to protect the scenic quality of the land on both sides of Langwater Pond as viewed from the Governor Ames property," according to Trustees of Reservations Vice President for Land and Community Conservation Wesley Ward.

The Town of Easton will fund the conservation restriction for the Governor Ames Estate, which will be open for public use. At Town Meeting in May 2011, the town

Ward said there would be two areas on the land that will not fall under the umbrella of the conservation restriction. The areas will be reserved for wastewater discharge from the sewage treatment plant at the Shovel Shop renovation, which is currently under construction less than a mile from the Ames Estate.

"We’re very impressed with the preservation work at the village and we understand the need," Ward told Selectmen.

While the Langwater Estate will remain in the possession of the Ames family, Ward said the Trustees would be given an opportunity to buy the land if they ever decide to sell beyond the immediate family.

Additionally, Ward said the Ames would allow two tours per year at Langwater land and Gate Lodge.

"The Ames Gate Lodge and Langwater property will continue to be owned by the Oliver F. Ames family. Neither document will affect the private status of the Langwater property and Gate Lodge," Ward said in a statement. "While general public access is not permitted, two public tours of the restricted land and the Gate Lodge will be arranged annually by The Trustees and Historic New England."

Documentation will now be submitted for state approval.

"We’ve had tremendous cooperation from all the aspects of the town, particularly the chair of the board and the Town Administrator," Ward said. "It’s been a great pleasure to work with [Acting Planning Director] Stephanie Danielson, and the Conservation Commission and particularly the chair of the Community Preservation Committee [James Lee]."

Jimmy Donnelly September 27, 2012 at 06:31 PM
So how much is the Ames family receiving from Historic New England? The family, at least for the last 80 years, is in the practice of doing good deeds for the right price.
Dwight Mac Kerron September 27, 2012 at 08:31 PM
I did not realize until now that the land would be available to the public only TWO times a year. Is there any part which which will be available all the time, or at least to members of the Trustees of Reservations?
Patrick Maguire September 27, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Dwight, The Gov. Ames Estate (36 acres) will be open to the public. The Langwater Estate/Gate Lodge will be open twice a year... these are different properties than the Gov. Ames Estate and they remain privately owned. I hope that clarifies.
Sinclair September 27, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Eighty years ago would take us back to 1932. In 1930, Mary Ames Frothingham gave to the town of Easton our magnificant Frothingham Memorial Park. In 1960, fifty-two years ago, the Ames family donated the estate "Wayside" to be used as town offices. In 1969, forty years ago, the Ames family purchased the railroad station from the Penn Central Railroad and gave it to the historical society. These are just a few of many visible and invisible contributions they've made over the years. Their generous philanthropy is and always will be lengendary. The list is too long to itemize here for those who are uniformed. Perhaps you might consider visiting the Easton Hisorical Society for more information.
Jimmy Donnelly October 02, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Sinclair: First, the Park does not belong to Easton. It is private. Second, you fail to mention that "Wayside" was FIRST put on the open market for sale and that there were no offers. Borderland was sold in 1971 for $3,000,000. That is $16,650,000 today. No gift. The Gov. Ames estate was sold by the Ames Family for nearly double its value and the dwellings are tear downs for the most part. There are some examples sure; I may have been off on 80 years. How about I just say that for the most part, anyone in that family born after 1900 has just been riding the name.

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