Eliot Tower Restoration Project

| January 11, 2013 | 4 Replies


The Eliot Tower and Memorial Bridge is located just a short walk from Blue Hill Observatory. It is one of the most popular destinations for hundreds of  hikers who visit the Reservation each year. In addition students who participate in Observatory programs often have their lunch at the Tower.

eliot bridge pc from south

The Eliot Memorial Bridge predates the Eliot Tower. It was built in 1904 as a tribute to Charles Eliot the famous Landscape Architect who was instrumental in preserving the Blue Hills Reservation.




The Great Blue Hill Observation Tower was constructed 75 years ago by F.D.R’s Civilian ConservationOriginal drawing of Eliot Tow&P Corps (CCC). Often referred to as the Eliot Tower it was assumed by many over the years to have been built at the same time as the bridge. Attached to the tower was a “Shelter” with massive fireplace, a wide terrace, outdoor tables and settees.

 Today, this National Historic Landmark is showing the results of years of neglect. The roof is in total disrepair, the walls are covered with graffiti, the doors are missing and the once pristine slate floor is cracked and broken. Complete restoration is needed immediately and Blue Hill Observatory is spearheading the effort.
Each year Blue Hill Observatory hosts educational programs for hundreds of children. With only one small room (original libary) for use as a classroom there is an urgent need for instructional space. Because of the close proximity to the Observatory, the Eliot Tower is the optimal place for a small Blue Hill Science Center with adjoining restrooms.
Thanks to support from CBT Architects of Boston and many volunteers we now have plans for the complete restoration of the Eliot Tower & Pavilion with a classroom addition and public restrooms.ET TERRACE TO ENTRY This addition will be connected to the Pavilion with a breezeway and adjoining terrace. It will be constructed with energy efficient walls and synthetic thin stone veneer. It will incorporate as much green technology as possble including photovoltic panels, rain harvesting and composting toilets.
The floorplan will include two large classrooms, a reception area and two public restrooms.
The Eliot Tower Restoration Project Benefits Everyone:
  •  A National Historic Landmark is restored and refurbished.
  • Visitors have a spectacular destination with clean restrooms.
  • The Observatory Science Center gains much needed classroom space.

eliot- perspective bridge + tower


If you would like to help make this very important project become a reality please contact Executve Director Charles Orloff- corloff@bluehill.org

Category: News

Comments (4)

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  1. Charles,

    What is the total cost and fund raising effort for this project and time line? Thank you.


    Christopher Tingus
    PO Box 1612
    Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645
    BHO Life Member

  2. howard m russell says:

    great idea

  3. howard m russell says:

    it would be great to have the tower handi capped accessable. Maybe a shuttle from the parking lot. or rig up or modify the ski lift to have carrages or gondolas.

    • dmccasland says:

      I am sorry for the delayed response. We are still learning how to use the web site. You can drive up to the Observatory by arrangement any day of the year. Call 617-696-0562 or e-mail dmccasland@bluehill.org to make those arrangements. The tower itself is not handicapped accessible because the National Historic Landmark status does not allow us to install an elevator. We do offer to carry people under 70 pounds up to the top and we also offer video services where we go up and film the view for the day you are here and then share it with you and answer questions on a big screen tv.

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