Preserve, Conserve, Protect
The Becket Land Trust Historic Quarry and Forest is owned and operated by the Becket Land Trust.
The acquisition of the site 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.
On site parking is plentiful. Maps, membership materials, brochures, and other information about school and public programs, exhibits and our oral history initiative are available on this web site, at the kiosk (located at the foot of the access trail), or at our off-site facility in historic North Becket Village.
The first phase of our new self-guided historic quarry walk opened on the Becket Land Trust’s Annual Quarry Celebration Day, Saturday August 27, 2005. A detailed map showing both the Forest Preserve Trails and the Self-Guided Historic Quarry Walk is available at the Kiosk (located in the parking lot) and on this web site.
Check the Calendar Page for upcoming events, meetings and celebrations.
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.
The Land Trust Board has issued this statement and has posted this at the Trust’s Historic Quarry and Forest parking area:
This property, open to the public for the over 15 years has seen a recent increase in unlawful behavior including littering, vandalism, drunkenness and animal cruelty. In response to this, the Trust’s Board of Directors has taken the following steps:
- We are collecting a parking fee of $10 per car per day.
- Parking along the roads abutting the Land Trust property is not permitted and cars parked on the roads will be ticketed and towed by the Becket Police Department.
- There is a private security officer on duty during the hours the property is open to the public.
- The officer will collect the parking fees and enforce the following rules:
- No diving
- No fires
- No cooler
- No alcohol
- Remove your trash
The quarry, known during its operating days as the Chester-Hudson Quarry, played a key role in the early development of the Town of Becket and the surrounding area. Granite from this quarry was used for monuments in many states. The quarry was operational from the 1860’s to the 1960’s.
When the quarry was abandoned, much of the equipment and structures were left just as it was (as if the quarrymen had gone for lunch and never returned). The site has stayed the same, plus some rust, until now.
The Historic Quarry and Forest is open year round, dawn to dusk, and admission is free to the public.
A self-guided tour is available at the historic quarry site. Beginning in the parking lot (the Gateway), visitors can continue up the access trail and pass numerous markers describing artifacts and objects including pieces of machinery, tools, trucks and buildings. In addition, old rail beds that lie dormant, remind visitors of the time when the stone was transported down into the town of Chester for processing. A brochure containing helpful definitions and information about the tour can be found at the kiosk (located at the quarry entrance, throughout the Berkshires, at the Mullen House Education Center, and on this website. Also available is a separate trail map of the historic walk.
Public programs and curriculum based enrichment projects can be specially designed for your classroom or community group.
Themes explored by the museum’s education department include: granite and granite quarrying, stone cutting and monuments, development of quarrying machinery from colonial times through the industrial revolution (from wood to steel), social history of the quarry community to include immigration issues and influence of quarrying on the development of Berkshire towns, and the relation of area railroads to the quarrying industry.
Please contact Dorothy Napp Schindel, Museum Director. Ms. Schindel can be reached by phone at: (413) 623-2100, by e-mail at historicquarry@BecketLandTrust.org, or by completing the form on the contact page.
Oral history footage, documented by a professional video producer, is available for viewing. These videos feature interviews of residents of Becket and beyond whose ancestors worked in the quarry. Many of these same relatives of quarrymen have given the museum gifts of historic objects such as photographs, newspaper articles, maps, ledger books, letter and other primary sources of importance to the collection. We are indebted to those who have made contributions of time, funds, and primary documents, and urge anyone having information about the former Chester-Hudson quarry to contact our office, Email: spokenhistory@BecketLandTrust.org or complete the form on the contact page.
Quarry Trail Map
First Phase of New Self-Guided Historic Quarry Walk Has Opened
The Self-Guided Historic walk through picturesque quarry trails features fourteen carved stone pillars topped with narrative signs identifying and describing artifacts and illuminating the history of this granite quarry, which served the Berkshire community for over one hundred years – spanning the industrial revolution. According to Dorothy Napp Schindel, Museum Director, “The narrative signs appeal to people of all ages. Featured on some signs are interactive questions for children to inspire the viewer to look for objects, describe them, and in some cases compare them to more familiar 20th century items.” The permanent exhibit historic walk will eventually contain thirty five informative posts.
Among the objects on the self-guided historic walk are wooden ‘guy’ and ‘stiff arm’ derricks, grout piles (picturesque hills of jagged rock composed of the waste product of the quarrying process), bullwheels, drills, winches, a grout pan, rusted trucks, compressors, and an electrical generator shed that is thought to have been constructed from a Sears kit.
The defining ‘signature piece’ of the quarry, is a reconstructed ‘guy derrick’ that looms over the quarry pit site. This derrick boasts a mast of 55′ and a boom of 50′. The mast was originally rotated on a ‘bullwheel’, measuring 10-12 feet in diameter. The reconstruction of this monumental object is being realized by a team of volunteers.
The inauguration of the Historic Walk was held on the Becket Land Trust’s Annual Quarry Celebration Day, Saturday August 27, 2005. A detailed map showing both the Forest Preserve Trails and the Self-Guided Historic Quarry Walk is available at the Kiosk (located in the parking lot) and on this web site.
Self Guided Historic Quarry Walk Map
Downloading the trail map for printing 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.
The preserve, which abuts the historic quarry, houses a demonstration forest, miles of hiking and cross country ski trails, beautiful vistas, flora, fauna, wildlife, vernal pools and quiet areas for contemplation of nature.
To contact the office of the Becket Historic Quarry complete the form below and click on the Send Message Button.
We will respond to your message as soon as possible.
Directions To The Historic Quarry:
Take Route 20 to Becket. At the intersection of Route 20, Route 8 North, and Bonny Rigg Hill Road, turn onto Bonny Rig Hill Road. At a 4-point intersection, turn left onto Quarry Road. Continue on Quarry Road, until you come to our signs and parking area on the right.
Directions To The Historic Quarry Office:
Take Route 20 to Becket. At the intersection of Route 20, Route 8 North, and Bonny Rigg Hill Road, turn left onto Route 8 North. Continue until you come to the center of town. The off-site office and exhibit/programming space is located in historic North Becket Village at the Mullen House Education Center, 12 Brooker Hill Road (off Route 8), Becket, MA 01223.