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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Read more about the history and residents of Dogtown:
Dogtown Trail Map: http://carlotto.us/capeann/dogtownCommonTrailMap.pdf