For years, I’ve whizzed down Columbia Road in Dorchester and pondered the same question as I round the corner at Edward Everett Square: What’s with the gigantic pear statue?
It turns out the 12-foot bronze sculpture in the square celebrates not just any pear, but the Clapp Favorite Pear. This is the area where Dorchester was first settled; it was part of a 300-acre estate and fertile orchard. The Clapps were a family of farmers experimenting with new types of fruit trees, especially pears. The variety they called the Favorite Pear, known for its tough skin and sweetness, was first grown here in the 1880s.
Eventually, this peaceful farmland became a tight-knit residential community, and finally gave way to a bustling six-way intersection used by thousands of motorists as they head to the Expressway. In an effort to revitalize this intersection and reclaim its history and neighborliness, the Square was redesigned and unveiled in 2007, with the bronze pear as the centerpiece. It was created by Somerville artist Laura Baring-Gould, who worked on it for five years.
“My challenge was to make a piece of art that tells the history of Dorchester and honor the stewardship, tenacity, and resiliency of the people of Dorchester,” she said. “I was working to find a visual form that would be a radical departure from Boston’s white men on horses.”