Marblehead, Massachusetts, Matthew Ulrich’s hometown, recently announced plans to update Memorial Park, the triangular space at Pleasant and Essex Streets that contains the town’s monuments to its casualties of war.
After the historic Warwick Theater and YMCA were razed for redevelopment, the park was left adjacent to the National Grand Bank parking area, and triggered a renewed interest in the upgrade of the 1/3 acre park. The open views created a focus on the park, and renewed interest in the landmark.
While maintaining the park’s present layout, with concentric circular walks and a tall granite monument listing the dead of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War at the very center, UBLA’s design will strengthen this axis, expand the south lawn, give needed definition to the space, and screen visitors’ views of the adjacent parking lot. At an August Recreation and Parks Commission meeting, Matthew Ulrich presented design concepts and said he and the Commission should choose the trees and shrubs with the idea that “Plantings can soften the differences (between the differently designed monuments)” and include plants with ornamental value around Memorial Day.
UBLA proposes creating additional plant beds edged by low boxwood hedges to better define the north and south lawn areas, with benches and lighting providing contemplative spaces. Vertically, these spaces will be framed by Stellar Pink Dogwoods, which bloom in time for the May holiday, and will soften views of the nearby Osborne Building. Areas for seating and passive recreation will be created on both the north and south sides of the main circle while new plantings unify the various memorial styles.
Pedestrian-scale period lighting will be provided to allow for evening use and security. Details may include ornamental metal fencing, brick columns at the Pleasant and Essex Street entrances, and evergreen trees for holiday decoration. We are looking forward to working with the Recreation and Parks Commission and the Marblehead community to rejuvenate this milestone.