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The Amesbury Swimming Hole

by Mrs. Kendrick L. Sawyer

 

Although this swimming hole is definitely in the Warner River, for some reason or other it has always been known to the old-timers as the “Amesbury Swimming Hole.”

 

I contacted Mr. Roy Kimball, who gave me the following interesting information. He believes that the village of Davisville, used to be known as Amesbury. There is a lovely old brick building at Davisville with the word Amesbury engraved over the front door, which used to be used as a hotel years ago. I also learned that there was a pavilion known as the "Amesbury Pavilion" in Davisville that people would ride out to in the summer for an evening of dancing and fun. Hence the name Amesbury lent itself to the river also, in the minds of these people, and it has been known as that since anyone can remember.

 

Mr. Kimball told me that the boys used to play a game of baseball at George's Park, and then run lickity-split down the old wagon road to the river for a cooling swim. They slid down the mud banks into the river, or hung on a rope from the highest tree, swinging like monkeys out over the water and dropping off into the deepest part. Of course, they never bothered with bathing suits, but for the sense of propriety, and the fact that I have a little girl in my picture, I dressed the boys in the fashion of today-­swimming in old cut-off jeans.

 

The road to the river is completely grown over now, and is barely visible. Under the water are large rock, and beam-the remnants of the plank bridge that used to be there. Mr. Kimball said that this wagon road used to be the short cut from the Blackwater and Tyler Districts used by farmers coming to town to barter their home grown goods, in return for other staples. In our first years in our home, I found quite a few old bottles under the water near the bridge, which were probably dumped overboard as the farmers passed by. My prize is a Stoddard stubby beer bottle, which indicates that the farmers probably got a little thirsty on their trip to town.

 

Mr. Thomas Astles, who, in the 1960’s, developed the area now known as Amesbury Park, said that he named it after the “old Amesbury.” He also recalled many hours of fun swimming in the river-a generation after Mr. Kimball.

 

The latest generation still enjoys it. My family, friends, and neighbors have spent many happy hours in the old swimming hole. I can look out my kitchen window where I have a lovely view of the river and picture farmers as they must have looked years ago on their way to market, and the children of the town running down the path to jump into the cooling waters of the “Amesbury Swimming Hole.”

 

Mrs. Kendrick L. Sawyer

Amesbury Park

 

Quilt square of the Amesbury Swimming Hole

Back to Mildred Reid's Writers' Colony

Next to The Shell Garage

LOC Subject Headings

Warner River -- New Hampshire -- Pictorial works

Swimming -- New Hampshire -- Hopkinton -- Pictorial works

Swimming -- New Hampshire -- Contoocook-- Pictorial works

Swimmers -- Pictorial works

Other Heading

Activities