- Department of Conservation & Recreation
Media Contact for Local Group Selected as Curator for Wachusett Superintendent’s House
Troy Wall, Press Secretary
Princeton — The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) today announced the selection of Cork & Windsor LLC as the new Curators for the historic Superintendent’s House at Mount Wachusett State Reservation in the Town of Princeton. The new Curators were selected through the agency’s Historic Curatorship Program, which seeks to create public-private partnerships in an effort to preserve historically significant properties for future generations. The program enables outside parties the opportunity to rehabilitate, manage, and maintain a historic property in return for credit toward a long-term lease. The selected Curators of the Wachusett Superintendent’s House propose to reuse the building as a café, market, and a community gathering space.
“The Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Historic Curatorship Program has served as an exceptional model for governments across the country seeking to create their own programs to leverage critical private funds in an effort to preserve and protect historic structures, like the Wachusett Superintendent’s House,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “The selection of Cork & Windsor LLC is an excellent example of a public-private partnership that the Baker-Polito Administration continues to seek out and foster.”
Seeking to expand on its current operation at Mountainside Market in Princeton in order to provide a greater range of services to customers and park visitors, Cork & Windsor LLC envisioned the reuse of the Wachusett Superintendent’s House, which will ultimately restore the property. Cork & Windsor LLC has operated Mountainside Market since 2016 and established the store as community gathering space for Princeton and surrounding communities. DCR estimates the value of the preservation, reuse, and maintenance of this turn-of-the-century structure and grounds at approximately $969,000 over the term of the forty-year lease.
“We are extremely honored to have been selected by DCR as the Curators for Wachusett Mountain's Superintendent's House,” said Katherine Huck, managing member of Cork & Windsor LLC. “Creating a destination where people can come together to enjoy community, excellent food, this great building, and the wonderful State Park here is a dream come true for us. We feel lucky to have incredible support, enthusiasm, and ideas from both our local resources and the dedicated group we are working with at DCR.”
“As residents of Princeton, it is very meaningful for us to have the opportunity to restore this beautiful and historic landmark,” said Cork & Windsor partner and master baker Robin Springfield. “We love the idea that our friends, families, and visitors can come experience something unique and special, and build new memories of their own. This is beyond thrilling for us!”
The Superintendent’s House (also known as the Vickery House) at Mount Wachusett State Reservation was one of the first buildings built by the fledgling state park system in 1903. The one and one-half story Dutch Colonial/Shingle style house was built as the residence and offices of the first Superintendent for the Reservation, Guy Chase. The building represents the origins of the state park system and is significant in its connection to the Reservation, the community, and the State. The lack of an active use, combined with vandalism and the elements have left the structure in a vulnerable state. DCR has invested in the stabilization and repair of the building’s structural components and roof in the past few years.
“Princeton and Central Massachusetts deserve great community gathering spaces like the Superintendent’s House,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “I am very happy that DCR is able to both preserve the historic Superintendent’s House and add tremendous value to the already great Mt. Wachusett Reservation.”
“I am thrilled that Cork and Windsor LLC was selected as the new curator for this amazing and historic site,” said State Representative Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden). “I wish to thank the Baker-Polito Administration, specifically the DCR Historic Curatorship Program, for their support and I look forward to visiting Mountainside Market at their new site.”
Additionally, the Historic Curatorship Program requires that the property is used in a way that is compatible with the park and the surrounding community. The open and competitive selection process of curators is based on a number of criteria, including the overall quality of the proposal, experience in restoration and historic preservation, financial resources, and the proposed incorporation of public benefits. Curators must provide public access to the property at least two times a year. Cork & Windsor LLC proposes to surpass this requirement by incorporating a non-profit element as part of their existing hospitality business. This non-profit arm will focus on organizing community programs, providing multi-use space, and connecting visitors to the abundance of nearby outdoor activities on Wachusett Mountain.
Under DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program, curators are selected through an open and competitive process. The program has resulted in very successful partnerships across the state that represent a diverse range of building types and reuses, from residential farmhouses to a mountaintop restaurant and inn (Bascom Lodge at Mt. Greylock State Reservation), a premier events facility (Willowdale Estate at Bradley Palmer State Park), a restored lifesaving station and visitor’s center (Horseneck Lifesaving Station, Westport) and artist live-work lofts (Baker Administration Building, Dorchester). Since the DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program’s inception in 1994, over $22 million in private funds have been leveraged toward the preservation of twenty-three of the state’s unused but historically significant properties.