Poet’s Seat Tower is a 1912 sandstone observation tower, located in Greenfield, Massachusetts. It was so named to honor a long tradition of poets being drawn to the spot, in particular, the local poet Frederick Goddard Tuckerman. By 1850, the location was referred to as “Poet’s Seat” by Tuckerman in a surviving diary entry for November 10th of that year. The location itself was referred to as the “Poet’s Seat” by Tuckerman before the tower was ever built.
Frederick Goddard Tuckerman (February 4, 1821 – May 9, 1873) was an American poet, remembered mostly for his sonnet series. Apart from the 1860 publication of his book Poems, which included approximately two-fifths of his lifetime sonnet output and other poetic works in a variety of forms, the remainder of his poetry was published posthumously in the 20th century.
Poet’s Seat Tower sits on a 190 million-year-old (early Jurassic period) 150-foot thick basalt lava flow overlooking the Franklin County shire town of Greenfield and the Connecticut, Deerfield, and Green River valleys.
A sign at the site says that the tower built in 1912 was to replace an older wooden one, erected at the site on June 3rd, 1879. This first structure was built, along with a public drinking fountain and a road accessing the site, under the auspices of The Greenfield Rural Club. The wooden tower burned in 1911 so it was replaced the following year by the present native sandstone tower.
The sign honors Frederick Tuckerman Goddard “a gifted solitary poet much admired by Emerson, Hawthorne, and Tennyson. Seeking solace in nature, he wrote verse and studied nature in Greenfield.“ It was donated by Greenfield Kiwanis Club.