Kirkbride Buildings Blog

December 27th, 2011

More on Worcester Clocktower Demolition

Worcester State Hospital Clocktower
As a follow up to yesterday’s post about the Worcester Clocktower, I wanted to point out that some of the paperwork for the Clocktower demolition is available on the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs website: Environmental Notification Form (PDF). The document lists the estimated commencement date for demolition as “Spring 2012” and the estimated completion date as “Summer 2012”. So it’s very likely the Clocktower will be gone within a year.

The document also explains in more detail why the building is ineligible for national landmark status:

“In response to a Part 1 Historic Preservation Certification Application for the Clock Tower, the National Park Service determined that the Clock Tower does not qualify as a ‘certified historic structure’ for the purposes of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Citing the demolition activities that occurred following the 1991 fire, and those associated with the development of the new hospital facility, the NPS concluded that the Clock Tower, and the Worcester State Hospital campus as listed in the National Register in 1980, no longer retains architectural integrity.”

The only good news in the document is that some effort will be made to salvage material from demolition for an on-site installation commemorating the Kirkbride:

“As part of the on-going MHC consultation process, measures to mitigate the demolition of the Clock Tower are being explored. One such measure includes the salvage of architectural elements of the Clock Tower for possible future incorporation in an on-site installation commemorating the historic and architectural significance of the former Worcester State Hospital.”

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  1. WSH January 5, 2012, 10:50 am

    In reading this article and a follow up in this weeks telegram the main question here is what is DCAM’s rush to tear down the building?? To quote, “It would be unfair — and fiscally unwise — for Worcester officials or local legislators to seek millions of dollars in additional funding to stabilize and preserve the Clock Tower at this time. But neither is there any pressing need for the state to proceed with demolition before Preservation Worcester has had every opportunity to explore ways to save the structure, perhaps through a combination of private, corporate and charitable sources.”

    So in a nutshell, what’s the big hurray? From all that I’ve seen I don’t think the place is to the point where it will collapse in the next year or two.

  2. WSH January 9, 2012, 12:11 pm

    There is an update, now the state is proposing to demolish the building and use stones to make a “exact replica” of the tower that is sealed shut!

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