Mount Greylock Veterans War Memorial Tower

Mount Greylock Veterans War Memorial Towerloupe
Summit Road
USA 01220
Maginnis & Walsh, architects

Mount Greylock Veterans War Memorial Tower

100 Cities / 100 Memorials

100c 100m wwi centennial plaque For 84 years, the 93-foot Veterans War Memorial Tower at Mount Greylock, the Commonwealth's official war memorial, has served as an important tribute to the brave Americans who sacrificed so much for our country and for our freedom. Designed by Boston-based architects Maginnes + Walsh, the War Memorial Tower was dedicated on June 30, 1933.  Prominently positioned on the highest peak in Massachusetts, the Tower is susceptible to punishing summit weather. Closed in 2013 due to unsafe conditions, the tower was restored to its original glory in commemoration of the centennial of the Great War and re-opened in 2017. The restoration and re-dedication of this monument is a symbol of our commitment to never forget those who have given their lives in service to our great nation.  The memorial tower is 93-feet in height from base to beacon.  At the public observation level, it is crowned with eight observation windows, which provide expansive views of 70 miles across three states and a surrounding view of the Berkshire landscape. Mounted on top of the memorial is the bronze beacon, which was originally lighted by 12 search lights. Once lighted, it is intended to not only keep bright the memory of Massachusetts’ war heroes and their “inspiration and hope,” but it also guides aviators over the Berkshires at night. Inscribed over the entrance to the tower is the seal of the Commonwealth, and a dedication in classic letters: “Erected by Massachusetts in grateful recognition of the loyalty and sacrifice of her sons and daughters in war.” Inside the base of the tower is a domed memorial chamber with a colorful mosaic tiled ceiling. On separate walls within the chamber, and in no particular order, is a poetic tribute to the state’s fallen veterans written in gold letters. The tribute reads:  SLEEP WELL, HEROIC SOULS, IN SILENCE SLEEP, LAPPED IN THE CIRCLING ARMS OF KINDLY DEATH! ---- GRIM DEATH HAS VANISHED, LEAVING IN ITS STEAD THE SHINING GLORY OF THE LIVING DEAD ---- IF YE BREAK FAITH WITH US WHO DIE WE SHALL NOT SLEEP, THOUGH POPPIES GROW IN FLANDERS FIELDS ---- LIFE IS NO LIFE TO HIM WHO DARES NOT DIE.

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