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Hidden History At Odiorne Point

Posted on by Colleen O'Connell

Odiorne Point State Park is a beautiful park tucked into the seacoast of New Hampshire. Many people come here to picnic or to explore the tide pools at the waters edge. There are many reasons Odiorne is a paradise by the sea. Yet there is also so much more to discover here. Odiorne Point has many layers of history. This was the summer home of Native Americans. It also became the home of colonists, tourists and military personnel in World War Two. Whether you’re walking through the remnants of Fort Dearborn or learning about our Colonial past, Odiorne Point is a great place to live history.

Out Towards Sea. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Out Towards Sea.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

Native History.
The landscape of Odiorne Point is very diverse. It has beautiful sweeping tracts of oceans, and intimate tiny harbors. I admired the shoreline as I made my deliberate way along. On a clear day you can look out over the water and see out to the Isle of Shoals. The first people to inhabit Odiorne Point were the Abenaki and the Penacook. These tribes came to know this place as Pannaway. They came to take advantage of the plentiful resources in the area. During their stay, they took time to fish the plentiful waters off the coast. They would also comb the beaches for Mussels and Clams. They lived off the land in a very simple, yet sustainable way. As I walked the shoreline, I wondered what Odiorne had looked like when they had been here. Back when it was an unsettled stretch of land,  it must have been very different from today.

Up Close to Nature. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Up Close to Nature.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

Colonial Times.
Walking down the paths that skirted the beach, I came upon a granite marker. The sun glinted off the meticulously polished granite. As I studied it I noticed the dates and the words inscribed on it. The lone marker commemorated the landing of the first English settlers in New Hampshire. In 1623 Englishmen came here to fish and trade with the natives.  Later, in 1660 John Odiorne joined the settlement that would later bear his name. He bought land and made his living on the point. The family continued to live here, generation after generation until World War II. Many families came here and made a living against this harsh landscape. This beautiful place holds an important place in our state’s history. I came here so many times during my childhood. Yet only in the last few years have I begun to realize Odiornes historical significance. Every visit my appreciation for its importance grows.

The Marker. Photo By Colleen Ann.
The Marker.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

Maritime Moments.
The ocean dominates the landscape of Odiorne Point. Much of the history that surrounds the point includes the ocean. Those that settled here depended on fishing and trading, and Odiorne was situated perfectly for both of these occupations. The colony thrived, and created a base for further exploration of this area. In the 1700’s the settlement was booming and the area was growing as well. The establishment of Portsmouth would not have been possible, had Odiorne not thrived. Also Odiorne Point supported Portsmouth as it grew. Portsmouth would later go on to become a sizable port. To this day, Portsmouth Harbor has significance within the region. The growth of New Hampshire would not have been possible without that first successful settlement at Odiorne.

Staircase to Nowhere. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Staircase to Nowhere.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

Cottage Life.
After the Civil War, Odiorne became home to many summer visitors. In its heyday the property was home to dozens of cottages. Affluent families from all over came to Odiorne to enjoy the summer. Even to this day, there are reminders of the rich history. The Seacoast Science Center was built around what had been a summer cottage. Stand in the right place, and you can still see part of the buildings stone and mortar structure. All over the park there are subtle signs of the history. Near the parking lot, a wide lawn spreads out beyond the trees. It is surrounded by a meticulously built stone wall. Stonewalls crisscross the entire property. There are posts that mark things that are gone, and staircases that lead to nowhere. As I made my way towards Battery Seaman the trail opened up. It flattened out and on either side, large trees had been planted. In the middle of the woods, the trail had turned into a forgotten country lane.  At Odiorne, the forgotten moments of the past surround you.

Battery 204. Photo By Colleen Ann.
Battery 204.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

Coastal Defense.
Later on in the day, I parted from the sea following the trails into the woods. Minutes later, I came upon the large underground bunkers. During World War II, The property was turned into a military base. The Bunkers that make up Battery Seaman once housed the two 16” guns. In 1942 the federal government bought all of the property and transformed the point into a major coastal  defense. The grand summer homes were replaced by bunkers and gun batteries. The idyllic place of summer homes became the main defense for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Thankfully, the war never came this far, and the huge guns were never fired. Yet the face of the property was changed forever. Even to this day there are signs in all corners of the park that point to its military past.  When you come into the park, you are greeted by Battery 204. Near the beach there are old mortar rings where gun placements used to sit. Further back the bunkers of Battery Seaman sit buried. Everywhere at Odiorne you are given the opportunity to walk among this past.

Into the Tide-pool. Photo by Colleen Ann.

Into the Tide-pool.
Photo by Colleen Ann.

Odiorne Point is unique because it is the home to hundreds of years of colorful history. From the summers when the Abenaki fished these shores, to the Bunkers on the point, Odiorne is home to a wide spectrum of history. The amazing thing is it all comes together perfectly. They coexist side by side, creating a beautiful mosaic. Together these intersecting reminders serve as sentinels to the rich history of New Hampshire. Odiorne is a great place to get outside and discover an integral part of our history.

Click Here to view the trail map that shows where some of these historic site are within the park.



Discoveries at Bear Brook State Park

Discoveries at Bear Brook State Park

Posted on by Colleen O'Connell

The sky was dreary and it was snowing when I entered Bear Brook State Park. Yet I was excited to be outside even if the weather wasn’t ideal. Bear Brook is a place where natural beauty meets human achievement. You … Continue reading

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An Evening at Hogback Pond

An Evening at Hogback Pond

Posted on by Colleen O'Connell

This quiet pond sits deep within Greenfield State Park and offers stunning views. Missed by many, Hogback Pond offers so much to visitors. In this article I will touch on some of the most beautiful things about this place. Views … Continue reading

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Winter at Robert Frost Farm

Winter at Robert Frost Farm

Posted on by Colleen O'Connell

Many people see winter as a cold, dark time to stay inside. I have always viewed Winter differently. My days of adventure have always been surrounded by the excitement of a child. I look forward to snow days and there … Continue reading

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Basin Adventures

Basin Adventures

Posted on by Colleen O'Connell

It was snowing when we pulled into The Basin. That Saturday, my boyfriend and I were up for an adventure; both feeling the need to get outside. Yet with an impending storm, we only had time for a short hike. … Continue reading

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The Mountains Are Calling

The Mountains Are Calling

Posted on by Colleen O'Connell

Only weak rays of sun peaked through as we entered Franconia Notch State Park. I gazed up; clouds swirled around creating a turbulent ceiling over I-93 North. This is the kind of day most people tend to stay inside and … Continue reading

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Start with Parks: Lessons from the Trail

Start with Parks: Lessons from the Trail

Posted on by Patrick Hummel, Volunteer Program Coordinator

01.20.15 “I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learn­ing noth­ing in this triv­ial world of men. I must break away and get out into the moun­tains to learn the news.”- John … Continue reading

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"Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn."

“Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.”

Posted on by Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

When you commit yourself to ten months of service, something with a definitive end, it is easy to get wrapped up in the world of countdowns. I can tell you that there’s only one weekend left of interpretive programming left … Continue reading

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Trailing Autumn: A Monadnock Tradition

Trailing Autumn: A Monadnock Tradition

Posted on by Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

The White Dot trail may be quickest and the most hiked route at Monadnock State Park; however my favorite hike, by far, is a combination of multiple trails which wind up the side of the mountain to the summit. Like … Continue reading

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Fall in Franconia Notch

Fall in Franconia Notch

Posted on by Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Back in May, before I had moved to Franconia Notch State Park to be an Interpretive Ranger with Monica Casey (my fellow interpreter), the two of us rented a movie from the local library about the park. We were excited … Continue reading

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I Took to the Woods

I Took to the Woods

Posted on by Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

As I sit and type this blog, I am nearing the end of my wonderful experience as an interpretive ranger for Umbagog Lake State Park. I can remember those days back at Bear Brook, almost 7 months ago, when all … Continue reading

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