Hilltown Hikers group buys old granite works

  • Part of the machinery of the old Hudson & Chester Granite Works, including the circular saw blade, is seen in Chester. WESTERN MASS HILLTOWN HIKERS

  • The circular saw blade is shown at the old Hudson & Chester Granite Works in Chester. WESTERN MASS HILLTOWN HIKERS

  • Part of the old Hudson & Chester Granite Works is seen in Chester. ESTERN MASS HILLTOWN HIKERS

Published: 10/4/2023 1:37:38 PM
Modified: 10/4/2023 1:36:38 PM

CHESTER — A nonprofit hiking group, the Western Mass Hilltown Hikers, has purchased the long-abandoned Chester & Hudson Granite Works near the old Chester Railway Station with the aim of preserving the early 19th-century industrial parcel.

“Our goal is to completely preserve this unique, magnificent and historic piece of land and its original equipment,” Hilltown Hikers founder and president Liz Massa said in a statement. “We plan to apply for National Historic Landmark status so all can enjoy it and learn the impressive history of an early industry in Chester.”

The Granite Works were started in the early 1800s to cut and finish the granite that was quarried just up the road at the Becket Quarry, a property that is now owned by the Becket Land Trust. The site still features a huge granite saw, originally operated by steam power, with some remarkable mechanisms designed to handle the massive blocks of quarried stone. The property had been in private hands until last week.

Western Mass Hilltown Hikers was founded by a small group of friends who gradually uncovered the area’s rich history through their walks. They eventually began to offer guided tours and hikes each month and have built a website, hilltownhikers.com, filled with hiking ideas, blogs, maps and photos. The group has organized a GoFundMe campaign to help with its new project.


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