“Reach back to a bygone era of quiet beauty ..”

The Restoration of the Three Arch Bridge and the Flowering Reflection Pond


Frederick Strong Moseley, born in 1852, was a broker in Boston and a director of the Shawmut Bank there. He was also a member of the Arnold Arboretum Advisory Board.  On the death of his father Edward in 1900, he and his siblings inherited a considerable estate. Frederick proceeded to acquire and improve the Newburyport property, consulting and hiring the best landscape architects in Massachusetts.

Originally named Maudesleigh, the 480 acre estate was created on agricultural fields by landscape architect Martha Brookes Hutcheson, one of the earliest female members of the American Society of Landscape Architects, who designed the grounds around the main house, entry drive, and formal gardens (1904–1906). Lord and Burnham designed various of the greenhouses.

William G. Rantoul, of the Boston firm Jacques and Rantoul, served as the estate's principal architect, creating most of the original architecture in the years 1895-1910. He designed the 72-room main house (demolished 1955) and houses for the coachman, forester, and head gardener. A second large house was built 1939-1941 for Helen Moseley, Frederick's younger daughter. At its peak, the property had a staff of about 40 and an extensive horticultural operation. There were three greenhouses, a head house, several types of cold frames, espaliered fruit trees, a large winter plant house, a two-acre formal vegetable and cutting garden, a 500 foot perennial border, an Italian garden, rose garden, and collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, and specimen trees in addition to the laurels that occurred naturally on the estate.

On the death of the Moseleys the family had the main house torn down. In 1978 Helen's house was destroyed by fire. After the main house was demolished and Helen Moseley's house burned, the landscape received considerably less intensive management, although the family retained a crew to do mowing. The property was acquired in 1985 by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and became Maudslay State Park. Today only a few of the original 30 structures remain.


One of the meadows on a splendid fall day

Road leading to the
Three Arch Bridge is lined with rhododendron

Fruit trees and
azaleas in bloom



Updated 10/12/15

With the upcoming approval of a DCR 2:1 matching grant, MSPA expects the draining and dredging of the pond to begin late this fall.  The unknown is the existing condition of the dam although inspections suggest that it should be ok.  The fund raising from this point on will determine how much of the pond can actually be dredged.   While the pond is empty, pointing and some rebuilding will occur on the three-arch bridge.  And finally, we will add landscaping both to replace fallen and diseased trees and shrubs and to create a passive recreation place on  the banks of the pond.

Go to our "Donate" page to make a pledge to support this endeavor.



Probably one of the most recognized and most photographed spots in the Park, the Bridge is sadly in need of repair and restoration.  Before this can be accomplished, the pond must be drained and dredged and the missing stonework retrieved and cleaned.

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The Flowering Reflection Pond

You can't tell by looking at it now, but it originally had a white sand bottom and was home to koi fish and turtles.  A few turtles remain, but the white sands and koi are gone.  The pond is choked with weeds and fallen trees, a sad reflection of it's former glory.