The former James H. Proctor estate lies between County Rd and Fellows Rd., built by James H. Proctor in 1895. The Catholic Church purchased the property, where it was used as a novitiate by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and later became the Catholic school Don Bosco. Since 1999 the Proctor estate has been the home of New England Biolabs, which provides walking trails open to the public.
Entrance to New England Biolabs on County Rd. across from Appleton Farms
Public trails at New England Biolabs,. Map courtesy of the Essex County Trail Association.
The grand house at the Proctor estate
New England Biolabs facility at the former Proctor estate
The restored Saltonstall Bridge. In 1638, Richard Jacobs received a grant of 40 acres on the southeast side of Mile Brook, bounded with the 40 acre farm of Richard Saltonstall on the northwest. In this rather remote location, Jacobs built his dwelling. The most direct way to Town lay over the Mile River and through the pastures to the way now known as Fellows’s Lane. He built a bridge over the river in about 1650. On Dec. 6, 1658 the town ordered that a highway be laid out through Mr Saltonstall’s 40 acres and part of John Andrews’ farm, continuing across Richard Jacob’s Bridge over the River. In the early 20th Century Mr. Proctor built the beautiful brick arch bridge at the same point and named it “Saltonstall’s Bridge.”
The Proctor Estate includes portions of the Miles River, parts of which are a flowing wetland.
The grounds of New England Biolabs feature a sculpture garden.
Trail parking is on the left after entering the gate. from County Rd. A handicapped accessible trail with two parking spots is at the trailhead near the soccer field.
The former caretaker’s house is on the rear drive that leads to Fellows Rd.
View of the simulated stone arch bridge from a field section of the trail near the parking lot.