Tales of a deadly duel and the murder trial that followed will be part of the colorful history of Pole Hill in Andover recalled during an Aug. 14 hike of the area.
The Andover Trails Committee and the Andover Historical Society are teaming to deliver the second in their two-part hike series called "Stories from the Trails." This hike series features both the natural beauty and unique geology of various Andover properties, as well as the colorful stories of the history related to each property and the surrounding area, according to organizers.
This second hike, which is free and open to the public, is on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 1 p.m. at Pole Hill on Pole Hill Drive in Andover. Jane Cairns from the Andover Historical Society will share colorful stories tied to the reservation and surrounding area. A history hike earlier this summer focused on the Skug River Reservation in Andover,
This hike of Pole Hill consists of relatively easy walking and will take about two hours. Ample parking is available on Pole Hill Drive, which is off Tewksbury Street in Andover.
Here's a sneak preview of what you'll see and hear about on the Aug. 14 Pole Hill hike:
Up river from the Ballardvale Dam was "the Shawsheen Grove" - a popular tourist destination in the later years of the 19th century, where visitors could picnic, dance under the stars, swim, or paddle rented boats and canoes on the river. The Boston and Maine Railroad promoted day excursions from Boston.
But by 1893, the crowds began to be large and unruly. A deadly "duel" at the Grove in August 1900, and the sensational murder trial that followed, threatened to put an end to the merry-making.
The 20th century brought new attractions including the dance hall "Parker's on the Shawsheen" and the Serio family's "Miami Boathouse."
The Andover Trails Committee is a citizens committee including members of the Conservation Commission, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Andover Village Improvement Society, the Bay Circuit Alliance, The Trustees of Reservations, and residents who appreciate the outdoor recreational opportunities of Andover. It was reactivated in the spring of 1991 to focus on the establishment of the Bay Circuit Trail in Andover.
The committee continues to support Bay Circuit Alliance projects and is working on the Shawsheen River Greenway initiative. The Andover Trails Committee will continue its work to increase the public's access to recreational trails by publicizing trail events, seeking volunteers to work on trails, raising money for trail improvements, and working with regional groups to create trail networks.