• Upcoming Programs

    Winter/Spring 2018 Programs

    Mr. Baker’s Fantasyland of the Beautiful and Bizarre

    Speaker Gloria Greis, Ph.D., executive director of the Needham History Center & Museum.

    Monday, April 2
    7:30 am
    First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
    26 North Street, Medfield

    Gloria Greis, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Needham History Center & Museum, to Speak

    In the late 19th century, an eccentric millionaire, William Emerson Baker, developed an 800-acre fantasy land on the Dover-Needham line. It included a 225-room luxury hotel…monkey cages…bear pits…buffaloes…a ‘Sanitary Piggery’ in which pigs slept in linen sheets…stables with animated stuffed horses…elaborate mechanical jokes…and more.

    Part of Baker’s property is now the Ridge Hill Reservation, but most of the acreage is now the site of high-end homes in the Grove Street, Wellesley area. But Baker’s fantasy project will be brought back to life our speaker, by Gloria Greis, Ph.D., executive director of the Needham History Center & Museum, who also has a 30-year association with Harvard’s Peabody Museum.

    Come learn about the eccentric, but also serious, Mr. Baker: his background, creations, aspirations and the separation movement he launched which eventually led to the succession from Needham of Wellesley before his death in 1888 at age 59.

    The presentation is free and is open to the public.