The Bird Memorial Clock Tower is a unique abandoned structure in Walpole, Massachusetts. This unique tower can be found in the East Walpole section of the tower at the intersection of Washington Street and Chestnut Street. It is dedicated to the Bird family who were one of the founding families of Walpole.
The history of the Bird family in Walpole dates back centuries. With the establishment of a paper mill, George Bird started the Bird & Son Company in 1795. Throughout the 19th century, Francis W. Bird grew the family business. He had Bird Hall built in 1884. Numerous banquets, plays, and lectures were held in the sizable hall on the second floor. On the ground level, there was a post office and a department shop, and it was also used for church activities. After Francis Bird passed away in 1894, his heirs provided the funding for the building of a 72-foot tower and illuminated clock. Only the clock tower survived the 1995 fire that completely destroyed Bird Hall.
There is a beautiful fountain honoring Mary R. Bird just next to the clock tower. She was an ardent abolitionist and a passionate supporter of women’s rights when she was born in 1845. She assisted in establishing the town’s first public library and was the first woman elected to the Walpole School Board in 1876. She also established the Children’s Sewing Circle because she thought teaching kids to sew was important.
Many people pass by the tower daily and have no idea the history behind it. It is a very unique structure with some incredible history. Over the recent years, the property has been fenced off and it is currently for sale, as of April 2023. It is unknown what the history of the Bird Memorial Clock Tower will be. Even if the new owners decide they do not want the tower, it is safe to assume the town will make it a priority to save the structure from any developer.
- Year Established: 1894
- Year Abandoned: 1995
- Original Function: A 72-foot clock tower built to honor Francis Bird who built the iconic Bird Hall in Walpole which was a hub of the community.