Holbrook Forest is a 59 acre parcel with trailhead and parking on Fisher Road in Holden. Trails interconnect with those of Camp Kinnywood, and extend to Barrows Road in Worcester.
A notable feature found in Holbrook Forest is a glacial erratic named Cousin’s Rock. It is of a material called Pegmatite; chemically the main constituents are aluminum silicate and silica, the same as granite, but formed in a late stage of crystallization in which a gas enriched very fluid magma allows ions to move freely and form unusually large crystals, seen in the attached picture.
Trail Map – PDF
In the early 1900’s Walter Holbrook had been the mortgagor of one parcel (Holden assessor’s 254-5) for the developer of a projected subdivision known as Tory Fort Heights, of which some 88 parcels of 212 were sold. When the developer failed to complete the purchase, Holbrook foreclosed. Subsequently the original development became impossible because access from the Worcester side was blocked by an electricity easement along the Holden town line, and land on other sides was not available for access. Wetland issues may also have been a deterrent. The town of Holden took some parcels in default of taxes (the town records are now lost) but some 73 acres remained the property of the original buyers or their heirs. The lots recorded in the deeds included parts of projected roadways so the area sold was more than half the total acreage.
In addition to the 47 acres of Tory Fort Heights, White Oak acquired 12 acres abutting the east boundary to bring the preserved space of Holbrook Forest to 59 acres.
The origin of the name “Tory Fort” is offered in History of Worcester Massachusetts From Its Earliest Settlement To September 1836, by William Lincoln. In the Autumn of 1774, Colonists were resisting the rule of the English Monarchy. In a backlash against “a system of coercive measures adopted as vindictive expedients” [p93], colonists confronted officers appointed by the crown demanding they resign their commissions.
Some of the royalists of Worcester alarmed at these proceedings, and fearful of danger to themselves, when those who had been most respected were treated with indignity, retired to Stone House hill, within the boundary of Holden, with their arms, and made some additions to the natural defences of the situation they selected, which afterwards received the appellation of Tory Fort. [p95]
Indeed, Stone House Hill Road in Holden and Tory Fort Lane in Worcester persist today to remind us of this history.
Holden Parcel Id 254-5