Castle Hill Grand Allée Landscape Restoration Project

The Trustees of Reservations announce the beginning of Phase One of the important Castle Hill Grand Allée Landscape Restoration Project. This iconic landscape of a National Historic Landmark will be restored to its original design and splendor, with a sustainable approach.

The Crane Estate’s “Grand Allée” on Castle Hill in Ipswich combines a grand scale with beautiful decorative arts, making it unique in American landscape design. It is the only known landscape masterpiece of its kind still in existence in North America, and one of only a few remaining worldwide. The Allée is one of the largest landscape features created by renowned Boston landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff – best known for his design of Colonial Williamsburg and the Charles River Esplanade – who modeled the dramatic design after the beautiful Italian and French gardens of Renaissance Europe. Since 1949, when the Crane family gave Castle Hill to the Trustees, the Allée has become a beloved and impressive backdrop for open-air concerts, weddings, tours and events, a childrens summer camp, and other recreational activities held year-round on the Crane Estate.

Nearly 100 years after its original installation, the plantings and architectural elements have begun to decline rapidly. The aging trees are prone to damage from harsh weather and storms. In addition, at their mature height, the trees have outgrown Shurcliff’s design and become overcrowded, obscuring his carefully planned views of natural features and the original sculptures bordering the hedgerows. To restore this rare and iconic landscape to its original splendor, The Trustees are embarking on a dynamic, three year, environmentally sustainable renovation project. The restoration will constitute a living laboratory – modeling cutting edge environmental stewardship with the diligent care of a National Historic Landmark.

The Allée restoration project has been created in memory of David Crockett, former member of the Board of Governors, known as the “Impresario of Argilla Road,” on which the Estate is located. For more information, or to volunteer in this endeavor, log on to, or email You may also call Bob Murray at 978-356-4351, x. 4035.