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Backstory behind Back Bay’s Magnolia Trees

Whose idea was it to welcome spring in Back Bay with pink tulip magnolias along Commonwealth Ave? Here’s the backstory:

Laura Dwight was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1899 and moved to Boston as an adult. She was a feisty resident who lived in an apartment on Comm. Ave with no garden. Over the years, Miss Dwight noticed that her charming 19th-century neighborhood start to deteriorate. She was furious with her neighbors who overlooked the lack of nature in the front yards of their elegant Victorian brownstones.

A natural activist, Miss Dwight spearheaded a campaign of neighborhood improvement projects. She organized house and garden tours and contests with prizes awarded to residents who created visually appealing front and backyard gardens(judged by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society).

In the fall of 1963, Miss Dwight personally rang the doorbells of her neighbors, friends and strangers and persuaded them to plant several magnolia trees in their yards to restore natural beauty back to Comm. Ave. Who could say “no” to such a convincing force? Apparently, hardly anyone. That’s why we have lovely pink magnolia trees in the spring to admire, enjoy and photograph.

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a tree with pink flowers on a sidewalk