Dover, NH
1949 - c1970

Thanks to Dave Hilton, I found this page about this small rope tow area in Dover, NH.  The following is a direct quote from a homepage dedicated to the history of this hill and its legacy.  Check it out at:

"While Haley failed to capitalize on the Hill in winter with a toboggan run, his concept changed with the times into the City's plans for a municipal ski slope, and in the 1950's and 1960's hundreds of people enjoyed skiing at Garrison Hill (and some of us cringed when we saw how steep the slope looked from the top!), with its two slopes, rope ski tow and warming hut at the base. The Parks Department offered ski the tower was actually classes there in the winter, and the hill and park enjoyed a year-round visitation by the public."

"The ski slope was the first to succumb to rising costs and dwindling use at Garrison Hill in the 1960's. Faced with fewer large snowfalls each year, and insufficient funds (and seemingly, climate) for snow making equipment, the municipal ski slope was closed in the 1960's. It, too, felt the ravages of vandals, as its buildings fell into disuse and neglect. The tower did not fare much better during this time period. The City stopped maintaining it in the early 1960's, with the last painting done in the 1950's (fittingly done by the company of a descendant of Arioch Wentworth and a lifetime resident of the Garrison Hill area, James Wentworth). It quickly fell into disrepair, with wooden decks rotting out and, now unprotected, the iron girders beginning to waste away from acid rain and the elements. The legs became bowed due to the effects of rust. Faced with increasing vandalism, the City finally removed the bottom sets of cast iron stairs and fenced the tower off in the 1970's. "

The Committee spearheaded the renaming of Ascension Avenue to Abbie Sawyer Memorial Drive in the spring of 1979. In early 1980, the Committee was made "partner to the Garrison Hill Commission, which was made up of representatives from various City Boards and was charged by the City Council to develop specific recommendations for use of the park. Its findings suggested passive recreational use of the Hill, restoration of the ski area for use by sleds and toboggans (did Harrison Haley hear that?), and cooperation with the Town of Rollinsford in both land use planning and recreation in the area. It supported naming the tower to the National Register, use of local tax dollars to expand the recreational use of the hill but not for restoration of the tower, continued maintenance of the tower, and more responsible investment of the trust funds. Finally, the Commission recommended using the income from utility leases of the top of the hill to offset park expenses, and clearer delineation of responsibilities of the Park and Recreation Department over use of the Park. It is a tribute to the Commission's foresight that fourteen years later many of the recommendations in this report have been implemented, though several remain only on paper. "

"Skiing came to this great hill, And many came to take a spill. But soon it came to a sad end, When the city refused to bend."

Garrison Hill Summer 1999 (photos by Jeremy Davis)
The view of the bottom rope tows, disapearing fast into 30 years of growth.

Looking up the old rope tow line. Still generally smooth, with only a little brush growing in.

During 1999, the trails were cleared (after my visit) and will support sledders and snowboarders this winter. For details, check it out here.

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