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Our Mission

Friends of Newton Hill was formed to promote the restoration, maintenance, and use of the Newton Hill section of Elm Park. The group is dedicated to maintaining the park’s natural beauty, its trails and paths.

Who We Are

Founded in 2001, Friends of Newton Hill is a member organization of Park Spirit of Worcester, Inc; a non profit 501C(3) park improvement organization comprised of neighbors, students, and local business volunteers. The Friends of Newton Hill are dedicated to revitalizing the 41 acre section of Elm Park in Worcester, MA.

Park History

A full trail map of Newton Hill can be found here.

1720: John Stearns establishes a mill near Newton Square, just off Pleasant Street.

1850-1888: For several years, a major portion of the land belongs to Colonel John Wetherell and his wife Hester, whose father is Rejoice Newton, for whom the hill was named.

1888: Newton Hill is purchased by the City of Worcester and becomes part of Elm Park. This 61-acre purchase combines with the original 27 acres, bringing the total to 88 acres. The City plans to build a reservoir at the summit for fire protection, but eventually decides the idea is impractical.

1890: A tree and shrub nursery is established at the present location of the Doherty High School athletic fields.

1891: Benches are placed along the summit trail so visitors can have a place to rest and “enjoy the view.”

1892: Walls are constructed along Pleasant Street.

1895: A road is built along the Highland Street entrance.

1909: A greenhouse is constructed in the Southeast corner of Newton Hill; the first two tennis courts are built; a wooden flagpole and shelter are erected at the summit. The original flagpole is later replaced by a steel pole, which still stands at the summit.

1920: Work begins on construction of an amphitheatre in the Northeast corner for a pageant to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims and the City of Worcester’s 200th anniversary. More than 40,000 people attend the festivities.

1929: The Founders Monument (Rogers-Kennedy Memorial) is dedicated December 6, 1929. The monument is sculpted by Maurice Stearne of New York as a tribute to the early settlers of the Commonwealth.

1940: The area around the Founders Monument is graded and planted.

1949: A basketball court is added to Newton Square, prompting a series of protests concerning the inclusion of recreational facilities. A request to build a ski tow is turned down.

2001: Friends of Newton Hill is established by area residents.