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At the highest point in the city, the Poet’s Seat Tower was built in 1912 in homage to the local poet Frederick Goddard Tuckerman

David Goran

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.

Poet's Seat Tower on Rocky Mountain, Greenfield, Mass. source

Poet’s Seat Tower on Rocky Mountain, Greenfield, Mass. source

 

Frederick Goddard Tuckerman was moved to write his nature poetry while sitting at the highest point in the city. Source: Timothy Clough/Flickr

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.

The entire tower is made out of sandstone. Source: Timothy Clough/Flickr

 

The architecture has a Gothic look to it and is hollow other than the iron spiral staircase. Source: Timothy Clough/Flickr

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.

Poets and non-poets have been drawn to its solitude and spectacular views for decades. Source: Don Rogers/Flickr

 

The tower’s series of arched windows allow for the best possible view of Greenfield spread out below. Source: Timothy Clough/Flickr

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.

Poet’s Seat Tower on Rocky Mountain, northern Pocumtuck Range. 1915 postcard. source

 

Commemorative Plaque at Poet’s Seat Tower in Greenfield, Massachusetts. source

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.