Back when the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital first opened in 1913, the approach to the familiar four-columned entrance included a graceful and sweeping green space running alongside the driveway. Over the years, this space was paved over, and the grass was swallowed up by encroaching asphalt. Until now.
Enter James and Thea Stoneman, strong supporters and advocates of healthcare institutions around Boston and beyond. The couple made a generous gift in April 2012 to support Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and transform the area in front of 15 Francis Street. Their vision, the Thea and James M. Stoneman Centennial Park, will be a place of respite and leisure for the Mission Hill neighborhood and visitors to the hospital. Underneath the green space, the hospital is constructing a 400-car parking garage to alleviate parking problems for BWH patients and family members.
The Stonemans’ gift will not only create the park, it will also ensure the continuation of the innovations in medicine and surgery that exemplify the Brigham. In addition, the park will help BWH elevate and highlight our iconic entryway by making it a beautiful, welcoming haven for individuals from all over. “The Thea and James M. Stoneman Centennial Park will provide an inviting and comforting space for patients, employees, and neighbors to relax and enjoy the outdoors,” said Elizabeth G. Nabel, MD, president of BWH and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital. “Additionally, the Patient Parking Garage will provide much-needed parking in the Longwood Medical Area and make it easier for patients to access the world-class care we provide at the Brigham.”
James and Thea Stoneman have a longstanding history of healthcare philanthropy in Massachusetts. To name just a few of their contributions to medicine, the Stonemans have funded the tranquil Thea and James Stoneman Healing Garden at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and were responsible for the renovation of the Sandwich Health Center—now named the Stoneman Health Center—in Cape Cod. Their most recent participation in the transformation of the 15 Francis Street parkway perfectly reflects their tradition of generosity.
In the Thea and James Stoneman M. Centennial Park, slated for completion in 2014, elm trees will flank the central green park space, while more than 100 shrub roses, including the blushing pink knockout rose, and up to 20 different plantings and ornamental grasses will be strategically placed about the area to bring color throughout the seasons.
"We are pleased and excited to be able to provide this benefit for the patients and community of Brigham and Women’s Hospital,” said James and Thea Stoneman of their generous gift.