Come spring 2013, I am looking forward to visiting a place in Massachusetts that I have found fascinating. It is Red Tail Golf Club, an 18-hole, daily-fee golf course designed by Brian Silva and located in the southeastern corner of the former Fort Devens Military Reservation in the Town of Harvard. Fort Devens served for nearly a century as the largest active duty military installation in New England (1917-1995). The site also lies within the eastern portion of the Nashua River watershed. (The Nashua was one of the most grossly polluted rivers in the nation, classified U – unfit to receive further sewage in 1965). When the U.S. Army post closed, the land was purchased for several different uses, one of which was a golf course.
Red Tail Golf Club is built on land that had mixed uses during the time that the property was being used by the Army. These uses included military housing units, a convenience store, and an ammunition storage and distribution center. The construction of the golf course returned these areas to open space better suited for wildlife habitat, but remnants of the old facility can still be seen.
During construction, approximately 15 housing units were removed from the property as well as 5 ammunition storage bunkers. Hole 17 bears the name “Bunkers” but it wasn’t named for the large expanse of sand as you might expect. This area was formerly dotted with ammunition storage bunkers, several of which can still be seen well to the right of the green on this hole. A magazine placard of “General Instructions” for the storage of explosives was found by me as I viewed the inside of one fo the bunkers during a visit there.
Another remnant of the Army post is at hole #18 to the right of the back tee box. Still standing is the guard tower which was used to keep watch over the ammunition storage depot at the bottom of the hill. Next spring I plan to scanned hole #2 for remants of where tanks once crossed.
It is always satisfying to see how a new use of a property can meld with the former use. In Red Tail’s case, there is tangible evidence of the old bunkers mixed with the new. I am really looking forward to this upcoming visit.