The interior finishes were all repaired as well as new lights, new dehumidifying systems, and resealing of joints. The 93-foot tower is also more accessible.
ADAMS, Mass. — Two years and $2.6 million later, the renovation of the Veterans War Memorial Tower at the summit of Mount Greylock is complete.
State officials cut the ribbon on the project to completely restore the 84-year-old monument to Massachusetts armed forces members killed in World War I, and later conflicts. The tower was last renovated in 1973 after it was closed for 11 years, and then in the 1990s more repairs were done.
In 2013, water infiltration issues forced the closure of the tower and two years later the federal government, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs broke ground on the latest renovation.
"Each year DCR makes targeted capital investments to restore and rehabilitate historic and cultural facilities that hold a special place in our parks system and also in our hearts. The Veterans War Memorial is certainly one of those places," DCR Deputy Commissioner Priscilla Geigis said.
DHK Architects designed the project, which entailed new ventilation systems, resealing of joints, installation of a new dehumidification system, improved access, new lights in the beacon, and a full repair of the interior finishes. Allegrone Construction performed the work.
"This majestic tower pays tribute to our Massachusetts veterans. Its placement right here at the summit of Mount Greylock, which is the commonwealth's highest point, is really a testament not only to the appreciation we have for our veterans but also our admiration we have for them," Geigis said. "The memorial beacon on the top of the tower shines brightly in remembrance of our lost soldiers. You can see that for 70 miles at night."
EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton spent the morning riding the trails of Mount Greylock before the ribbon cutting. As he was enjoying the outdoors, he said he was thinking about the tower and all of the veterans to which it is dedicated to.
"It is that beacon, that light, that constant remembrance of everybody that gave so much for us to be able to stand here and live our lives here, free, and peaceful on a daily basis," Beaton said.
He turned to the members of the American Legion Post 160 Color Guard, which joined the ribbon cutting and performed a rifle salute and played taps, to thank them for their efforts in preserving every citizen's ability to enjoy the outdoor spaces the EEA tries to preserve.
"We love what we do. We are driven by a passion for conservation and to provide resources and opportunities for the soldiers when they come home, go outside and enjoy nature," Beaton said.
One of those veterans who loved to be on the mountain was the late Stanley Kopala.
Mount Greylock Advisory Council member Tim Herman recognized Kopala, who served in the Korean War and was the former commander of the American Legion, for years of dedication to the trail network. Kopala was a founding member of the Adams Sno Drifters and worked to maintain the trail network. He died last month.
Department of Veterans Services Secretary Francisco Urena was at the groundbreaking two years ago and said, "as soon as the podium came out, the scaffolding came up." Over the next two years, the tower was under construction and being readied for future generations.
"I am so thrilled to be back here in Adams ensuring that our first state memorial to war veterans is in being maintained, and being here for generations to come," Urena said.
He said the tower isn't just in dedication to the veterans themselves, but "we know that when a veteran serves, a family also serves and sacrifices. This memorial stands for our gold star families, those who have lost their loved ones in service to our country and those who have sacrificed while our service members are serving."
The program also included welcoming comments from Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco, who praised the work DCR did on the project.
The 12,000-acre Mount Greylock State Reservation is the state's first park and a significant amount of money has gone into capital projects there over the past decade. There was a $21 million project to repair the roads, $1.5 million on the visitors center, and Bascom Lodge at the 3,491-foot summit was renovated. The 93-foot tower is just the latest to see capital investment from the state.
Following the ribbon cutting, tours of the newly reconstructed tower were given.
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