- Department of Conservation & Recreation
Media Contact for Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower Named Official 100 WWI Centennial Memorial
Olivia Dorrance, Press Secretary
BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that the Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower has been chosen as one of the nation’s official 100 World War I (WWI) Centennial Memorials, a tribute marking the anniversary of the end of WWI. The tower, which is located at the summit of Mount Greylock and is part of the Mount Greylock State Reservation, was constructed in honor of the brave men and women who have served the United States of America. At an event on Thursday, the 100 Cities/100 Memorials Program presented to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) a plaque naming the tower a WWI centennial Memorial, as well as a $2,000 grant to go towards the memorial’s upkeep.
“The heroism of the Commonwealth’s brave men and women inspired the construction of the Veterans War Memorial Tower on Mount Greylock,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Commonwealth is forever thankful of the dedication and selflessness of those who have served to protect us, and is honored to have the Veterans War Memorial Tower named one of 100 WWI Centennial Memorials across the nation.”
“Massachusetts leads the nation in providing critical supports and services to veterans,” said Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Francisco Ureña. “Congratulations to those who worked so diligently to achieve this prestigious honor. Today’s actions will forever preserve the memory of the Commonwealth’s brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom.”
Prior to the tower’s submission to being considered for status as an official 100 WWI Centennial Memorial, the Mount Greylock Veterans War Memorial Tower underwent extensive rehabilitation and improvement work as part of an interagency effort by the DCR and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). The scope of the work included:
- The resealing of exterior masonry joints;
- The repairing of the fan ventilation system;
- The installation of a dehumidification system;
- The improving of accessibility at the front entrance and Memorial Chamber;
- The upgrading of pathways; and,
- The installation of interpretive exhibits in Memorial Chamber.
“This is a proud moment for the Baker-Polito Administration, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Commonwealth, and our veterans,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “The Department is honored to steward the Veterans War Memorial Tower and share its significance with visitors as it becomes one of 100 WWI Centennial Memorials across the nation.”
Since 1934, the lofty 93 foot Tower has served as a beacon overlooking the Commonwealth in honor of those from Massachusetts who served in the U.S. military. The Veterans War Memorial Tower is the Commonwealth’s official war memorial and is a prominent feature of this magnificent and historic landscape. The popular historic destination, which is visited by thousands of people each year, was closed to the public in 2013 due to unsafe conditions. However, in July 2017, the monument reopened to the public following the extensive repairs.
In 2009, the DCR received a Federal Scenic Byway Grant for the Mount Greylock Summit Improvements Project. The MassDOT administered grant provided $800,000 for upgrades and preservation of the Veterans War Memorial Tower, focusing on historic preservation. The required state match was provided through DCR capital funds. Unfortunately, the condition of the tower was worse than expected, and the Commonwealth provided more than the 20% match, investing over $1.7 million in the project. In March 2012, DCR and MassDOT executed an Interagency Service Agreement for the project and initiated the preliminary design. Construction work began in August 2015 and was completed by June 2017, with a final cost of approximately $2.5 million. Allegrone Construction Company, Inc. of Pittsfield was the lead contractor on the project, and DHK Architects were the designers.
Additionally, this year marks the 125th anniversary of the DCR’s acquisition (then as the Metropolitan Parks Commission) of the Waverly Oaks in the Town of Belmont, which became Beaver Brook Reservation in 1893. For 125 years, the agency has been preserving, promoting, and enhancing the natural beauty of the state parks system. For more information regarding the DCR’s Mount Greylock State Reservation, the state’s highest peak, please visit the park’s webpage.