MANCHESTER BY THE SEA – For decades hikers of all ages have made the trek up the 1.5-mile loop of Beaverdam Hill to marvel at two giant boulders that millennia ago were pulled from the bedrock and deposited by the last glacier that helped shape the North Shore terrain.
Known as Big and Little Rocks, they were called Agassiz Rocks after the 19th century biologist Louis Agassiz, who developed the theory that glaciers deposited the boulders throughout the New England landscape.
Agassiz also believed that non-white races were inherently inferior, a belief that The Trustees of the Reservation found to be “egregious” and inaccurate.
The Trustees, which cares for parks and recreation areas in Massachusetts including these boulders, refused to continue honoring Agassiz and have renamed the rocks. It was the first time in its 131-year history that The Trustees have renamed a property.
The rocks at the park off Southern Avenue are now called the Monoliths.
“While we cannot and will not overlook Agassiz’s scientific contributions, maintaining the Agassiz name on this property would run counter to our goals of inclusion and acceptance for each and every one of our guests who deserve to feel welcome at our special places,” said Janelle Woods-McNish, Managing Director of Community Impact for The Trustees.
“Coming to terms with our history is complex and can be contentious,” said The Trustees President and CEO John Judge, “but The Trustees has committed itself to the learning process and embraces this as a journey that doesn’t end but rather evolves.”