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Legend of Bancroft Tower

Legend of Bancroft Tower

Bancroft Tower stood as a sentinal to the city, but had a legend of love.

When I was young, I spent a lot of time in the back seat of my cousin's car alone. She had a boyfriend, but he did not drive and she never liked to drive alone. As a result, I went on many dates with my cousin and her boyfriend. She was five years older than I was and I was her favorite cousin. At the time, I was having fun going out to the drive-in, bowling and other places. I never realized what a third wheel was until I started dating and had to take my date's sister with us.

Every time we were out, after the date we would cruise around looking for a good place to go and neck. One of the favorite places was Bancroft Tower. If you read my earlier story 'Confessions of a Prankster', Bancroft Tower was the scene of one of my pranks. There were a few legends associated with the tower that added to its mystique.

The history of the tower is unique, because it sits atop a hill named after the Bancroft family. This family was one of the founding families of the city where I grew up in central Massachusetts. They were still influential in business and politics today. They owned a few city blocks of land and buildings in the center of the city. The family was one of the few that survived the early years after the Pilgrims landed and moved inland. There were several Indian massacres, which caused the settlers to abandon and restart the city a year later several times. The Bancroft family signed a treaty that the Indians kept and the city grew.

The tower on the hilltop was part of the treaty with the Indians. The stone used to build the tower came from the quarry on Bell Hill at the entrance to the city from the Boston Post Road. It took three years to get the stone and erect the tower. Several Indian laborers died from falling rocks in the quarry and the tower. Rumors flourished that the ghosts of these laborers haunted the site and battles between the Indian ghosts and the pioneers happened every fortnight.

As a young teen, I became curious about Bancroft Tower and its history. Fortunately, I had access to historic archives of the city, which were not open to the public. I spent time reading about the construction and subsequent use of the tower. During construction, several battles happened between the pioneers and the Indians resulting in long delays. Several burial grounds ringed the site and became the sacred ground for both groups. After the American Revolution, the tower became less important as the Indians left to go further west away from civilization.

After War of 1812, the tower stood abandoned and fell into disrepair. Even with the disrepair, the place became a special area for young lovers. At night, several horse and buggy teams ringed the site as young lovers spread out on the lawn around the tower. In 1845, a young woman's father found the young couple up at the tower and killed the young man in a bitter argument. Not long after the tragic death, the young woman snuck out of her father's house up to the tower. Being distraught and missing her young man, she carefully climbed the crumbling tower to stand at the top. In the light of a Blue moon, the young woman stood crying for her lost young man, when a strong wind blew and she plunged to her death.

The tower continued to crumble until the 1930's when it was re-built to serve as a monument to the undying struggle of the pioneers who made this country great. While the construction continued, several people saw a young man standing at the base of the tower looking up at a young woman who seemed to fall to him. This continued until the tower dedication. Part of the work done was to relocate the graves of all the people from around the base of the tower. The Indians graves ended placed in an old Indian burial ground outside the city. The settler's graves moved to a rural cemetery about four miles away.

The young man and young woman seemed to disappear after the graves moved. Their appearance seemed to end forever at that time. Just after the end of World War II, a young couple of star-crossed lovers were at the top of the tower. As they sat on the edge of the tower, a young woman appeared behind them and approached. As she got closer to the couple, a young man's voice sounded from below the tower. She walked right through the couple out over the edge of the tower and turned to face them smiling as she plunged to the arms of her lover below. Since that time the lovers have appeared several times, but only when lovers were present at the top of the tower.

One night with my cousin and her boyfriend, I sat looking out the back window of the car. They were making out in the front seat and rather than sit and watch them, I looked around at the other cars. It was a cloudless night and the moon was shining brightly on the tower. Suddenly a young man appeared at the base of the tower yelling up for his lover to come down. A young woman came up to the edge of the top of the tower. She floated out over the edge, the young man caught her and they disappeared. I read about the legend, but never dreamed that I would ever witness such a sight.

Several cars emptied as other lovers saw the apparitions. Everyone gathered at the tower base and looked up. I stood on the edge of the crowd and listened to them chatter about what happened. I walked into the crowd and told the story of the young lovers. Everyone agreed they witnessed the reenactment of the lover's reunion in death. Over the years, that I lived there the same thing happened many times.

It became the Legend of Bancroft Tower.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

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