Wright's Tower – Medford, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura

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Wright's Tower

Dedicated to "the father of U.S. life insurance." 

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Spanning over five towns and cities, the Middlesex Fells Reservation is one of the most popular and largest state parks within the Greater Boston area. It provides a quiet and serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of the big city, where visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, boating, picnicking, or letting their dogs run free in the off-leash areas. Within the reservation is a building that is built in honor of a prominent local citizen and provides a very scenic and panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Wright’s Tower was built in honor of Elizur Wright, a mathematician, inventor, and abolitionist. He helped form the American Anti Slavery Society in 1833, patented the Arithmeter Cylindrical Slide Rule in 1869, and perhaps his most significant contribution was the regulation of the life insurance industry which earned him the name, “the father of life insurance.”

Wright was also a member of the Forestry Association and wanted to turn the Middlesex Fells area north of Boston into a public park. Although it never happened during his lifetime as Wright passed away in 1885, his goal was eventually accomplished and the Fells became a reservation in 1893.

Wright’s daughter Ellen wrote to the Board of the Metropolitan Park Commission in 1896 and the tower was built in 1937 and rededicated in 2008. It is a fairly small stone tower consisting of a stairwell and a large viewing area on top where visitors can see a grand and panoramic view—not only of the reservation but also North Boston.

Know Before You Go

To reach the tower, the best way is to start at the parking lot on South Border Road and continue walking on Quarry Road Path straight ahead. Eventually, you'll reach an intersection with a sign pointing towards Wright's Tower along with the Cross Fells Trail and Skyline Trail.


This path to Wright's Tower is very rocky and steep and might be a little difficult. If you continue walking past the first sign, you'll eventually see another sign pointing towards Wright's Tower. This path is much more gradual and easier to reach the tower. 


The tower is often (but not always) locked.

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October 3, 2022

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