Curious New England, A Walk Through Babson Boulder Trail and the Legacy of Rodger Babson

Inspirational proverbs carved into boulders on the northshore of Massachusetts serve as a legacy, documenting the morals of society in a time of hopelessness. Now known as the Babson Boulders Trail, a labyrinthine of twenty-five carved boulders, is a part of the abandoned inland settlement on Cape Ann, called Dogtown.

Never Try, Never Win
Be On Time

The project was commissioned by MIT graduate and later, founder of Babson College in Wellesley, Rodger Babson, during the time of the Great Depression. Undeniably rich with monetary investments and creative visions, Rodger Babson simply had an affinity for fresh air, exercise, and sunshine, much like us all. Rodger was on a mission to restore and preserve the history and integrity of Dogtown, a once flourishing community left to deteriorate.

Keep out of Debt
If Work Stops, Values Decay
Prosperity Follows Service
Use Your Head

From 1659 to 1750 Dogtown was known as the Common Settlement, a prosperous community and home to many well-known families. By the 1800’s the Common Settlement turned into Dogtown Common, a mysterious concentration of gypsies, so-called ‘accused’ witches and widows. Completely abandoned by 1830, homesteads slowly decomposed and trees and vines grew in their place, obscuring the areas characteristically revealing history, a story that constructed Cape Ann as we know it today.

Spiritual Power

Years later, in the 1900’s, Rodger Babson, with curiously modern ideals and initiatives, hired unemployed stone-cutters, much to his family’s confusion and dismay, to carve his ‘Life’s Book’, as he termed the project, into the boulders at Dogtown as a deep-routed legacy to be remembered by.


Wouldn’t it be nice if we too could turn our curiosities and passions into long-lasting creative legacies, relevant to forthcoming generations?


It is remarkable that the words chosen by Rodger Babson still hold true today, over ninety years later.

Help Mother
Get A Job
Be Clean
Be True

Rumor has it, Rodger hoped the boulder carvings would continue after his death in 1967, however, they did not. Perhaps in these modern times we have other priorities and legacy projects, or maybe we should consider taking a page from Rodger Babson’s life book and continue his tradition and chisel our own 2020 values…

D.T SQ, othewise known as Dogtown Square

Read more about the history and residents of Dogtown:

Dogtown Trail Map:


8 responses to “Curious New England, A Walk Through Babson Boulder Trail and the Legacy of Rodger Babson

  1. Very cool. I’m revisiting a lot of local locations i blogged about 10 years ago, but i missed this location. Definitely adding to my list! Thanks for the idea!


  2. Pingback: Know Before You Go: Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, Massachusetts | The Little Blog of Magic·

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