Price Chopper gives Fort Massachusetts parcel to North Adams

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NORTH ADAMS — Price Chopper has given North Adams a parting gift.

The supermarket chain announced Wednesday it has donated a portion of its State Road property to the city for the continued preservation of its monument to Fort Massachusetts, a relic of the 18th century and unique piece of local history.

Price Chopper closed its State Road location, which had been in operation since 1959, in February 2016.

"This conveyance is made to the City of North Adams for the dedication and use of the property as a park and as a memorial to commemorate Fort Massachusetts, the historically significant Revolutionary War fort," the deed states.

The 18th century fort eventually fell into disrepair and now all that remains is a chimney from a long-gone replica built in the 1930s and a commemorative plaque, which sit adjacent to the store's parking lot.

A 0.345-acre parcel has now been carved out to give the city control of the historical site and 15-foot-wide easement will provide the city with access to maintain the property from State Road.

"I am so pleased to make this gift to the City of North Adams, knowing that its' Historic Commission is dedicated to working with local preservationists to maintain the site on which Fort Massachusetts once stood," said Neil Golub, executive board chairman of Price Chopper/Market 32, in a prepared release.

Fort Massachusetts was built in 1745 and rebuilt in 1747 after it was destroyed in a conflict in the lead up the French and Indian War less than a decade later.

When it was initially constructed, the fort was the westernmost in a line of forts roughly along the northern border of Massachusetts. Because of its westerly position, it was the first to be attacked in 1746.

"It's a little piece, but it's big in history," said Justyna Carlson, chairwoman of the North Adams Historical Commission and secretary of the North Adams Historical Society. "This is the 1740s; it's pre-French and Indian War, but it's part of the lead up to it. That's how early it is,"

Conversations about the site began shortly after the store closed, according to Mayor Richard Alcombright. From a logistical standpoint, the donation wasn't simple, he noted.

"You've kind of got to cut this funky piece out of there," Alcombright said. "We've had really good discussions with the family."

"On behalf of future generations, it is with pride that we accept the Golub Family's generous gift of the Fort Massachusetts memorial site," said local historian and Historical Commission member Wendy Champney in a statement. "Today is a great day for our community's history."

Price Chopper also closed its Lee location earlier this year.

The North Adams store employed 57 people at the time of its closure. It remains vacant.

"It was a really good thing for them to do as they exited the community," Alcombright said of the land gift.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-496-6376.


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