Vincent Pacifico

Situated at the top of Prospect Hill in Worcester sits a beautiful stone tower which overlooks the city with breathtaking views from the very top. Bancroft tower was built in 1900 and was commissioned by Steven Salisbury III in honor of his fathers close friend George Bancroft. Bancroft was a local historian, diplomat and former Secretary of the Navy, making him a notable individual from the City of Worcester. In 1912 the tower and its surrounding property officially became a city park and is now called Salisbury Park. The plot of land that the tower sits on was originally owned by Salisbury and was left to the Worcester Art Museum after his passing, and was later donated to the city. 

Until the 1980s the tower was open to the public to explore and enjoy but was closed due to safety concerns of the tower’s 56 foot height along with complaints of late night parties being held there. Thankfully, on certain days of the year, the tower is opened up and the public has the ability to explore the inside and gain views from the upper portions. The tower has two doorways that can be entered into. The left doorway is a simple room with stone benches and a fireplace and the right door is the entrance to a stone staircase that winds as you go up through the tower walls. At the top there are two main lookout areas that overlook the City of Worcester with views far into the distance. Finally, a metal spiral staircase takes you to the upper most lookout on the tower which offers gorgeous views of the surrounding area. Surely a sight to see on the days that it’s open.

Today when you visit Salisbury Park, you can walk up close and around Bancroft Tower along with having the ability to explore the surrounding wooden grounds of the park. Located right off of Park Ave and Salisbury Street, a long windy road leads you up Prospect Hill through wooden residential neighborhoods until you reach the top where the tower is. There is a small parking area just in front of the tower which holds 6-10 cars and allows you to safely pull off the road and park your vehicle. There is a walking path that goes around the tower which used to be a vehicular road that was closed off in the 70s and has now been turned into a pedestrian pathway. In the wooded area of the park, there is a walking trail which is part of the city’s East West Trail which is a city owned hiking trail that extends 14 miles throughout Worcester and helps to connect many of the city’s green spaces.

Today the tower and park is a popular place for photography, site seeing and just exploring a new place on a nice day. The fall foliage is beautiful in and around Salisbury Park and the scenery makes for a beautiful colorful landscape making you feel as if you left the city. This area is truly a magical place and one of the most iconic parks in Central Massachusetts. Being over 100 years old the property has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If you have not been to or heard of Bancroft Tower and are looking for a short day trip, be sure to make this your next destination to see one of Worcester’s hidden gems right off the beaten path. You’ll be surprised how close this small secluded park is to the hustle and bustle of the city.