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June 12th, 2013 by Samuel Mix

Hadwen Arboretum #4


I recently got my workspace from Jenny Isler, a nicely sized office in the physical plant building. I had a lot of paper to store and organize from the archive. I spent the last few days looking for more specific information about Obadiah Hadwen.

Low-hanging fruit versus high-hanging fruit is a concept that I learned this semester that has become very useful for me in prioritizing what I have to do. Low-hanging fruits are considered easy activities that yield quick results. High-hanging fruits are more difficulty activities that may take a while to pay off. For this research part of my project, the low-hanging fruits are basic internet searches, what I was already given via Jenny or HASTREES, and Clark resources (Clark’s various libraries). Clark’s archives and rare book collection are a perfect examples of low-hanging fruits. They were easy to access and provided me with an enormous amount of information. Early on I was given a copy of Hadwen’s obituary, which was also a low-hanging fruit.

The last example of low-hanging fruit that I found was from the Guy Burnham Map and Aerial Photography Library. Two things that I was looking for were a map that showed where Wing Kelly Farm was (the farm that Hadwen’s father bought in 1834 that later became today’s arboretum) and a map of the arboretum as he left it in 1907.

What I found at the map library, a lovely, little space hidden in the basement of Jefferson, was an 1833 map of Worcester and a map of Hadwen arboretum done by Clark surveying students in 1911. The 1833 map has property named Wing Kelly shown on it (see below). This was an eureka moment for me because it confirmed the property story in his obituary. In his obituary, it was said that his family moved to Worcester and bought a farm called Wing Kelly Farm in the 1830s (when Obadiah was a young boy).

WKF 1833

The 1911 map done by Clark surveying students is the closest thing we have to Hadwen’s personal arboretum map so far (see below). We now have an idea as to what the arboretum originally looked like.

map1911 whole
Now the smaller, higher-hang fruits include mailing a will request to the county probate court and looking into some of the organizations that Hadwen mentioned in his obituary. I have mailed in the request, but many of the organizations no longer exist, such as the Worcester History Society. I feel that most of these avenues are not going to be that productive. I also have enough information to tell a decent story. There are a few holes in the story, but some holes are good when telling a story.

Now I am moving on to the last part of the research stage, which is mostly looking at other arboretums and Green education programs to make a list of best practices. That is what I will write about next time.

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