Firemen’s Common is located in downtown Groton, adjacent to the Main Street watering trough. In 2016, the Garden Club refurbished this small park in Groton.
In the past this Common has had a variety of names and configurations. It had originally been much larger, but over time the space was reduced and plantings were impacted by long harsh winters and diseases. At one time there was a bandstand there. The road at the back of the common was added during a renovation project. The American flag, flown at Firemen’s Common, is the main town flag.
This Common was originally named for the son of Congregational minister Edwin Gordon. The son, Charles Gordon, died during World War II, and the flag at the corner of the Common flies in his honor. There was a memorial plaque with his name on it, which was run over and is now lost.
The current design of the common was created approximately 38 years ago as an Eagle Scout project, in honor of the Groton Fire Department. It had been presented by Joseph S. Bassett III as his Eagle Scout service project to the town on May 24, 1982. It was dedicated to Groton firemen for their service to the town.
Linda Hoffman Matisse was honored in 1986 by the Groton Conservation Trust for her contribution to conservation efforts in Groton. She was a founding member of both the Friends of the Tree Warden and The Common Project. Her efforts through The Common Project brought about a renovation of the then-called Charles Gordon Square Common, with funds awarded by a state program to restore town commons in Massachusetts. The site plan for the renovation was crafted by Paul Matisse, and the final design was simple, with a variety of plantings and two benches forming an island of greenery. The current benches were donated by the Groton School in honor of their 100th anniversary, to help make this a safe and welcoming place to relax. They were installed in June 2019.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Arbor Day in 1986, an American Beech tree (Fagus grandifolia) was planted at the newly renovated common. This tree was a gift from the Ruth C. Jackson Memorial Fund of the Groton Conservation trust. Ruth Jackson loved to walk up and down Main Street admiring trees and gardens. Her daughter, Marion Stoddart, felt the planting of the Beech tree was a gift to the town that her mother would have enjoyed giving.
In April 2019 the Friends of the Tree Warden and the Garden Club co-sponsored the Arbor Day Celebration held at the common. A Stellar Dogwood was planted in memory of Lola the Groton Police Dog.
General list of trees and shrubs
These include crabapple, silver maple, a blue spruce, which is known as the town “Christmas tree”, “Crimson King” norway maple, inkberry shrubs around the bench area, a small cherry tree naturalized beside the bench, and an American Beech tree planted on behalf of Marion Stoddart’s mother.