Bird Observer: The Birding Journal for New England

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

June 2017

Vol. 45, No. 3

Birding Farnham-Connolly Memorial Park, Canton

Jim Sweeney

Farnham-Connolly Memorial Park is located in the town of Canton, Massachusetts, and opened to the public in July 2014. At the former site of the Canton Airport, the 338-acre park is part of the much larger Neponset River Reservation managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

The park is named for Lieutenant Arthur E. Farnham and Sergeant Thomas M. Connolly. Both men worked at the Canton Airport, where they became friends while employed as aircraft mechanics. Subsequently, Farnham and Connolly served in World War II, were shot down over Serbia, and eventually airlifted to a safe location after participating in a historic mission together.

The Canton Airport opened in 1931, but closed in 1954 due to flooding and maintenance issues. The airport was situated in the flood plain for the Neponset River and the area is still prone to occasional flooding today. The Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) acquired the land in 1996 and after years of construction, restoration, and mitigation activities, the park appeared on the landscape as a new birding site.

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