Preservation of the Commonwealth’s cultural heritage is an important aspect of the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s mission. The cultural resources that can be found in our state parks and forests span thousands of years and includes Native American sites, cellar holes and stones walls that tell the story of the state’s earliest settlement patterns, military landscapes, historic estates, and a metropolitan park system designed by a pioneer of the profession of landscape architecture, Charles Eliot. With over 100 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including eight National Historic Landmarks, the cultural resources under DCR’s care tells the story of our state and our nation. The Office of Cultural Resources (OCR) carries out the DCR’s preservation mission through stewardship of the agency’s historic buildings, structures, landscapes, archaeological sites, and archival resources.
OCR staff provides professional expertise, technical assistance, project management skills, and training opportunities in the areas of landscape preservation, preservation planning, adaptive reuse, archaeology, archival records management , and compliance with local, state and federal historic preservation laws. In addition to leading the historic preservation programs and initiatives of the agency, OCR staff directly support activities undertaken by other bureaus and divisions within the agency. As a leader in the field of historic landscape preservation, the office also provides assistance to cities and towns through the development of innovative tools for protecting their significant historic landscapes.
Contact: Patrice Kish, Director at 617-626-1378
From the Archives
From the Field OCR Featured Historic Resource
The harsh climate at the Mt. Greylock summit ravages the War Memorial Tower, and by 1963 the Tower was closed to the public due to its deteriorating condition. In the late 1960’s, the MA state government hired the Boston architectural firm Perry, Dean and Stewart (PDS) to redesign Mt. Greylock State Reservation Summit, including the removal of the 1932/33 War Memorial Tower. PDS hired sculptor Leonard Baskin (1922-2000), a Smith College professor of art at the time, to design a new monument. In 1970, Baskin unveiled a preliminary design entitled “The Mourning Woman”, “as a symbol of the Massachusetts women whose fathers, sons, and husbands had died” in war.
When an image of Baskin’s “Mourning Woman” design was published in area newspapers, the public outcry was considerable enough for the Commonwealth to withdraw the idea. Due to a lack of funding, the Tower would not be rehabilitated until 1973/74. It was renovated again in 1997/98.
This photograph of Baskin’s second and larger study of “The Mourning Woman” resides in the DCR Archives, and is attached to a July 28, 1970 letter from Perry, Dean and Stewart, Architects, to the Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Forests and Parks, regarding preliminary plans for Mt. Greylock SR Summit, and Leonard Baskin’s study for a new Mt. Greylock Memorial.