• Impulse wellesley

Has anyone seen this giant Wellesley rock?

Wellesley geology bookA while back I took a book out of Wellesley Free Library called “The Geological Story of Wellesley” (Revised in 1984). The cover, shown here, features an impressive boulder that’s described as sitting atop Peirce Hill, the highest point in town at 337 feet.

So I went looking for the big rock, finding Peirce Hill off of Monadnock Road and through a foreboding metal gate. But as far as I can tell, the boulder is no longer there. Does anyone know what became of it?

The hill now features some nice wildflowers, a few water tanks (I think connected to the nearby reservoir), a couple of metal structures decorated with graffiti and a couple of poles with antennas on them.Peirce Hill, June 2014

Peirce Hill, June 2014Peirce Hill, June 2014Peirce Hill, June 2014Peirce Hill, June 2014

Peirce Hill, June 2014Peirce Hill, June 2014, water pipes


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  1. MCape
    Posted August 23, 2014 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    That boulder was removed by the DPW in the 1980’s, likely an ice age era stone called Tillite a kind of stone that was pushed by upheaval action of the ice in a moving glacier and consists of varying forms of sediment. The stone was likely originally removed form the quarry that was operating in that area in the late 1800’s to the turn of the century. Several NU co-op students, myself included, all working for HNTB worked with DPW one summer to excavate the old stone/brick storage vessels and burry the new concrete and steal tanks. In 1997 I moved to the town. The rock in the drawing sat near the top eastern edge of the hill, where the new public water holding tanks now reside, it was blown up into a smaller with a small charge of TNT and carted away. BTW it is important that you do not go in that area, especially to walk a dog which I believe will be the root cause of the recent e. coli outbreak !

  2. Alexandra
    Posted July 28, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    yes I have seen the reservoir, in fact it’s right in my neighborhood and I accidentally discovered it on a family walk about a year ago. We didn’t go up to it because of the signs but we could see it from a distance. Do you know if we are allowed to go up the hill to the grassy part?

  3. Deborah Grandy
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Have never seen this rock but I have some pretty wonderful ones, high, wide and craggy, in my yard on Avon Road. They are the most dramatic remains of a massive ledge that lined the length of the road and beyond, passing through woods, a swamp and quarry. It was pure heaven growing up here in Wellesley, long before the madding crowds of developers. We call our property : The Rocks.” The preserved house dates to 1881,
    parvenue compared to our rock backdrop. Your article is very timely because of the threat of destruction of the open space at the North 40.

    • bbrown
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Deborah, thanks for sharing this…TSR

  4. Andrew
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Photographic evidence of your tresspassing…check.


    • bbrown
      Posted July 1, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Nah, a very long-range camera lens. But actually, the signs there are kind of confusing. On one, it says no trespassing. On the other, it says to leash your pets, sort of indicating you are allowed to walk around there…

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