Preserving Washington Tower

April 1, 2021

If there’s one spot people are most likely to remember about Mount Auburn, it’s Washington Tower. At 62-feet tall, the Tower provides a spectacular view of the Boston skyline, and has been one of the most beloved features in our landscape ever since it was built in 1854.

Today, the Tower is in need of preservation. If we want to guarantee that we can keep it open to the public for another century, it will require major work in the coming years.

Thanks to generous support from grants and individual gifts, we were able to complete a preservation assessment of the Tower in 2020. We now have a complete assessment, options for repair and improvements, and estimated budgets to support planning for restoration of this iconic structure.

Tower with heavy machinery in front
Preservation assessment, 2020

Further planning will be needed over the next few years before the full preservation begins. But already, the 2020 assessment has shown that there is significant work to be done on the Tower’s masonry. Fortunately, its large blocks of Quincy granite are extremely durable. However, as water has worked its way into the walls from upward-facing joints at the top of the Tower, the stones have shifted – creating opportunities for water to get in. Stopping this cycle of deterioration will require dismantling the top quarter of the Tower and rebuilding it using the existing granite. Additionally, the wood tracery windows will be repaired or reconstructed, new lighting installed, and safety improvements made to the stair rail. Finally, the architect presented potential plans for increasing the accessibility of the site, including a graded path and handicap parking along the road. Stay tuned for more updates on the launch of this multi-year preservation initiative!

About the Author: Anna Moir

Grants & Communications Manager View all posts by Anna Moir →

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