Why is there a 12 ft Pear in Dorchester?

Photo: Adam Pieniazek

Every now and then you come across something truly unusual, which seems to be the case in Dorchester. If you haven’t seen it before, you may be wondering, why exactly is there a 12-foot-tall bronze pear in Dorchester?

The pear stands tall in Edward Everett Square, as it has since the mid 2000s. To truly understand the unique choice of artwork, it requires taking a step back in history.

In the late 1800s, Dorchester wasn’t part of Boston, but rather existed as its own town. Over the years, it was mostly made up of farms, and had far fewer residents than neighboring Boston.

Agriculture was a big part of the town’s history, including pears. In fact, the very first pears in the nation were sold by Enoch Bartlett of Dorchester in 1817.

The pear was appropriately named the Bartlett pear. Later, the pear was crossbred with another type of pear to create the Clapp Favorite, named after a man named Thaddeus Clapp.

The Clapps were one of the town’s founding families. That’s noteworthy because the Clapp Favorite of Dorchester is exactly what’s replicated in Edward Everett Square.

It’s said the pear stands on land that was once farmed by the Clapp family. The 12-foot-tall creation was made by artist Laura Baring-Gould and pays homage to the agricultural history of Dorchester.

There are actually 10 small sculptures in the area too. They surround the large pear and recognize the history of Dorchester and its people.

Perhaps fittingly, Thaddeus Clapp, the man behind the Clapp Favorite, is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain. His tombstone, of course, features some pears.

The pears named after him can still be spotted growing on trees in the Dorchester area today. Some of them are said to grow outside the windows of the Dorchester Historical Society, which happens to exist in an 18th century farmhouse that once belonged to the Clapp family.

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