Preserve, Conserve, Protect

Becket Land Trust

The Becket Land Trust is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization which owns and operates the Historic Quarry and Forest. It was founded by a group of citizens concerned about protecting the Town of Becket’s rural character, natural resources and ecologically sensitive areas.

About Us

The Historic Quarry and Forest was the result of an extraordinary community fund-raising campaign to save a 300+ acre parcel of primarily wooded land from industrial development. To prevent detrimental impact on the site and the community, local citizens donated money to enable the Becket Land Trust to purchase the property and open the site to the public for recreational enjoyment.

We are involved with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife in setting up a New England Cottontail habitat management area on the forest site – Read all about itRead about the progress and project.

Thanks to a wonderful group of volunteers, all trails have been cleared and reblazed. We invite you to visit the quarry and hike the trails.

Historic Quarry - access path

“I have visited a lot of extractive industrial sites. The Becket Quarry stands out in my mind as probably the best granite quarry I have seen in Massachusetts . It is large enough to be very impressive, but small enough so that its operations and technology are clearly visible in the landscape and artifacts. It is also in a remarkable natural setting with spectacular views and abundant wildlife.”

Matt Kierstead,
Practicing Industrial Archaeologist

History

The Becket Land Trust was founded in 1991 by a group of concerned citizens who were interested in maintaining the rural nature of the Town of Becket and of preserving its natural resources.

In 1999 The Labrie Stone Products proposed purchasing an abandoned quarry in the southern part of town and reopening the granite quarry. Citizens of Becket, desiring to avoid the noise and activity of an active quarry purchased the land and donated it to the Land Trust.

The former Hudson-Chester Quarry was once one of the largest of several in the area, extracting granite and shipping it by railroad for polishing to nearby Chester and Hudson, N.Y. Gravestones and monuments were the main products.

The quarry opened in the 1850’s and closed in the 1960’s. It is one of the most intact historic quarry landscapes in Massachusetts, with a blacksmith shop, standing derrick, and experimental air-drill testing tunnel.

Tucked between Becket’s forests and hills, the old granite quarry sits like a sunken vessel, a living museum with rusted artifacts left behind when the Hudson-Chester Granite Company suddenly folded.

When it was abandoned it was as if the men just walked away for lunch and never came back, and that’s what makes it a wonderful museum. There are trucks, drills, and derricks (booms to hoist granite) throughout the site. Apparently mismanagement and lack of money for necessary improvements led to the abandonment.

Publications

The Becket Land Trust produces a newsletter each year to bring the members up to date on the Trust’s progress and the development of its properties.

Reading the publications in .pdf format requires that you have Adobe Reader installed on your computer. If you do not have this program it is available free of charge at Adobe Acrobat software.

Links

Other organizations related to the Becket Land Trust and its mission.

  • Town of Becket
  • Becket Arts Center
  • Berkshire Visitors Bureau
  • Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival
  • Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition – A primary purpose of the Coalition is to increase the effectiveness of Massachusetts land trusts and conservation organizations with the legislature and government agencies on issues of direct interest to the land conservation movement.
  • The Nature Conservancy – The mission of the Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
  • The Trustees of Reservations – Conserving the Massachusetts Landscape since 1891. Whose mission is “To preserve, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts.”
  • New England Museum Association – For more than 75 years the New England Museum Association has been the only organization in New England serving museums of all sizes and the people who work for and with them.