Know your neighborhoods

...  history of communities bordering Melrose and Senior Day at Mt. Hood

by Debbi Collar

Author Douglas Heath and a visit to Slayton Tower

It was a full house at the May Senior Day at the Mt Hood Park Association and Golf
course. One hundred people were on hand to listen to Douglas Heath, author of three
books on the history the surrounding areas of Melrose, Massachusetts. He and his
wife, Alison Simcox, are both environmental scientists interested local history. They
have written Middlesex Fells(Medford), Breakheart Reservation (Saugus) and Lake
Quannapowitt (Wakefield).
Heath focused his talk on Breakheart Reservation in its
earlier days. Its more than 600 acres has quite a history, including a chapter on
Breakheart's "Crime of the Decade" in 1900. "A fourth book is due to be published
this July. Heath also autographed copies of the books purchased by attendees. Simcox
had a previous commitment and was unable to attend this event.

Mt Hood Clubhouse packed the people in for the annual Senior Day

Details of Breakheart's Farmhouse history to organization of the CCC (Civilian
Conservation Corps).Heath's presentation was followed by that of Mt Hood Park
Association President Myron Dittmer. A slide presentation of the Mt Hood area with
its own history and its nature trails, including a drone video of a portion of the
trails Guests were later driven, after the luncheon, by the Milano Senior Center bus
or drove their own cars up to the Slayton Tower area where they were able to climb
the spiral staircase of Slayton Tower. Historic records and newspaper articles
September 25th of 1945, California native, Major Doake Weston gave his life to save
the lives of his five man crew on board a B25 bomber in flight over the area. He told
his crew to bail out when its engine caught fire.In doing so, he not only saved the
lives of his crew but the lives of many who lived in Melrose and its surrounding
communities. A memorial bench and a marker were recently placed at the site where a
stone "castle" known as "Slayton Tower" stands. Chairs had also been set out near the
tower for others who were unable to make the climb for them to to enjoy the views of
the area surrounding.Mt. Hood.

View of Boston's skyline from Mt. Hood's Slayton Tower.

June 2, 2017

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