Tag Archives: parks department

Worcester’s magnificent Bancroft Tower: come and see!

By Edith Morgan

Is the glass half-full or half-empty? In Worcester,  the “City that Reads,” surely I do not have to explain the literary allusions when I speak of the Pollyannas and the Cassandras.

In the middle of a political campaign, the Cassandras have the floor, as dire predictions and warnings are thought to be more effective than emphasis on achievements. The media salivate at the expectation of bad news and endlesly repeat all kinds of scary tidbits – following their belief that “if it bleeds, it leads.” So, having an oppositional streak, I choose to “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”  (How many of you out there remember that song?!)

The Cassandras, for a long time,  outnumbered us optimists in Worcester, always full of criticism and moaning about what is wrong with our city.  But I have noted over the decades that it is rarely the Cassandras who roll up their sleeves and work to improve things. So I am especially pleased that our new city manager is one of the “glass is half full “ group, and upbeat about Worcester’s ability to continue to build, improve, create, and move forward .

A small example: I ran into our city manager on Sunday, October 6, on a beautiful  sunny morning, around 10 a.m., climbing the 81 steps going to the top of Bancroft Tower. It was during the first of four Sunday openings , from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for the general public to enjoy this unique structure in Salisbury Park, one of Worcester’s 60 parks.

Park Spirit, Inc., under the leadership of  its president, Dorothy Hargrove, with help from Newton Hill founder Rick Miller, and Preservation Worcester, with councilor Moe Bergman acting as one of the docents, spearheaded this effort to bring our attention to another of our unique monuments.

The view from the top is truly breathtaking – the whole city lies at the feet of this fortress-like building – and I was amazed that after more than a century, the building was still intact: the cement between the great stones, the huge granite slabs, the iron spiral staircase up into the turret – all were in perfect shape.

I had to admire the ingenuity and creativity of the builders and the power of whatever equipment was available at that time – to move those great stones up there and place them in their permanent home, for future generations to enjoy.  I overheard many of the visitors reminiscing about their many enjoyable times in the surrounding park, as children. Many visitors brought children and pets, and young and old marveled at the sights.

I do hope that those who did not get a chance to experience this wonder will come one of the remaining October Sundays [10 a.m – 2 p.m. – free!] and clamber up the steps to take in the view.

Thanks to students from Assumption and WPI, who weeded, removed mosses and debris from the open areas at the top, and cleaned them up.  Thanks also to Brittany Legasy for the flyers and the great poster displayed at the entrance. There are many other activities that take place at this site; I am told that after I had left, a wedding party came up to take pictures, and I have in the past participated in a sunrise service.

The more we use this facility, the less vandalism occurs.

Come and see …