Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower, Mount Greylock, MA

   
Mount Greylock State Reservation, Notch Rd.
Adams
MA
USA

06/30/1933

Maginnis & Walsh, architects

A 93-foot-tall lighthouse-like structure atop Mount Greylock, the highest summit (3,505 feet) in Massachusetts. Eight narrow windows at the top of the shaft give views to the surrounding landscape from within an observatory that is reached by iron spiral staircases. A semi-transparent glass globe sits atop a stem that emerges from the crown of the shaft. The crown is decorated with art deco eagles. The globe is lit at night, becoming a beacon. The exterior features a relief of the shield of the commonwealth of Massachusetts. An art deco eagle in relief surmounts the inset entrance to the memorial.

in the interior, the base features a domed chamber. The dome is decorated with art deco patterns made from small tiles. A gold lantern hangs from the centerpoint of the dome. Two narrow rows of a laurel leaf pattern surround the center.  Most of the dome is decorated with gold tesserae arranged in an overlapping pattern of half-discs. Under this is a narrow band of blue tesserae with red borders; against the blue-patterned mosaic are ranged 48 white stars. Below this are the interior inscriptions. The floor is made of different-colored marble that form a star-like pattern. In the center, inlaid in a circular black marble piece, is a bronze "US," with the letters surrounding a bronze relief of a lit torch.

 

Tower

1931

1932

Massachusetts

200,000

William H. Eaton, chairman; Claude M. Fuess; William H. Sperry; Wendell D. Howie, Secretary

J. G. Roy & Sons Company, builder

Massachusetts Veterans

Perched atop Massachusetts' highest summit, the tower is visible from five states and offers spectacular views. The lighthouse-like structure is often said to derive from the fact that the state also considered building a WWI memorial on an estuary to be built in the Charles River in Boston (to which the firm that designed this also submitted plans). But there is no hard evidence that the lighthouse design built on Mt. Greylock was simply transferred from the Boston project. Due to the harsh climate on the summit, maintaining the tower has proved difficult; after it was condemned and closed for several years, the state looked into tearing down the tower and building an entirely new sculptural memorial. Public outcry over the proposed sculpture (a mourning woman by Leonard Baskin) led to the scrapping of the project, and the tower was later entirely rebuilt.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Recreation; Alec Gillman, CIG, Vis. Serv. Sup., West Reg. Interpretive Coord., Mount Greylock State Reservation, P.O. Box 138, Lanesborough, MA 01237, ph: 413-499-4262

Tower, Light, Altitude