Monday, June 25, 2012

6/23/12 - Old Tower Removed

There was the level horizon, which told of the sea on the east and south, the well-known hills of New Hampshire on the north, and the misty summits of the Hoosac and Green Mountains ... on the north-west and west.
Henry David Thoreau, A Walk to Wachusett, 1843

We are close now, close to the full scope of Thoreau's field of vision from the summit of Wachusett.

On my last visit of 6/9, there wasn't much change, and since I was not able to visit last weekend, I really wasn't sure what I would find today.  My first sighting indicated that ... no, the perimeter fence was not down.  As I watched two hikers ahead of me reach the top, I saw the fence still in place.  But ... there was a difference in the roadway ... or rather the walkway to the summit.  No longer was there a direct road.  Ahead of me, from the handicapped lot to the summit, was a field of boulders.

Approach from Main Parking Lot
Rocks Ahead
 Indeed, some major landscaping has been done at the summit.  A single car-width path of asphalt wove is a serpentine shape between newly placed boulders. 
Paved Strip and New Rocks
New Path and Paved Strip
 There had to be a way to get a vehicle to the fire tower, but the design of the summit also would give a natural look of rocks and native vegetation.

Paved Strip Winds From Parking Lot to summit

Strip Leading To Tower
The paved strip led to the summit and then straight to the southern face of the tower base and the containment door.  To the right of the strip, you can still notice the hay bales protecting the surface level Survey Marker.

Southern Face
This paving strip and the rocks which leads hikers and pedestrian visitors to the summit took my attention from yet another change!  I missed it completely until I dropped to the US Army Radio Relay station to take my customary picture of both towers!  Wow!!!  Only One!!!

Single Tower Stands Tall

Based on a facebook entry of a friend who was on the summit 6/20, and the Tower was still standing, I would have to guess that it was probably a 1 or 2 day operation at most to take the old tower down and away!  I wonder how they did it?
New Wachusett Fire Tower
And so what of the old tower?  At this time, I also do not know what happened to it - scrap metal, spare parts, or simply sold to private ownership and moved.  I do know that the Generator and the Box that housed the electronics are still on the mountain and will probably be reused or sold - my guess.

There remains the four cement pilings, some metal bars, some barbed wire from the fence, but that's about it.  I did notice some initials carved on rocks which were inside the old chain link fence that stood about the old tower.  Perhaps there are some historical clues of the past within those initials.

Looking West Towards the "Old Tower"
Site of Old Tower - Looking West

New Tower Generator

SE Piling for Old Tower
 So now the old has been completely replaced by the new.  Not a bad thing at all.  We will quickly get acclimated to the new view looking to the west.

And while we have some "newness" on the summit, other things continue on.  My friend Mr. Rabbit made an early morning appearance again.

My Buddy
I always see him on the south side of the summit.  He must have a bungalow off the side between the summit and the pond.

As a HAM Radio operator myself, WU1X, I noticed a heavy amount of activity on the road at the summit - near Parker Lodge.  It is the ARRL Field Day weekend contest and the contesters were alive and well ... multi-bands, CW and Phone.

And so, we say good bye for today.  Surely, the next visit will allow me to actually view the Commonwealth from the Observation Deck.  Or ... maybe not.

New Tower Cab - Fully Functional


  1. Sir, a friend of mine posted pictures on facebook of the demolition...a shame. They ripped the old tower to pieces and scrapped it. the old cabin was removed by crane.

    1. Hi Tom; I would really be interested to see his pictures. Do you have an email from which I might contact him? Thanks. Bob

    2. Hi Tom; Happy New year. my first response to you never got through.

      I would really be interested to see his pictures. Do you have an email from which I might contact him? Thanks. Bob