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Andover Conservation Commission Land


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Massachusetts dcr


Town of Andover Land


Trustees of the Reservations


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Merrimack River Reservation


Features:

Long narrow property along Merrimack River. Beautiful hemlock groves, horsetail, an open meadow, and high bluffs.

More than 10,000 years ago, glaciers shaped Deer Jump Reservation’s steep river banks and left behind striated boulders. Torrents of water pouring from the melting glacial ice deposited sand and clay in outwash plains. Stagnant ice left behind step-like deposits of glacial sediments known as kame terraces.

Both paper and the less common black birch grow in these woodlands. Black birches have smooth, dark brown bark with white scars; twigs and leaves give off a wintergreen aroma when crushed. A stand of silver birches near the Route 93 crossing provides pleasant shade, and threatened river birches grow on the peninsula at the Lawrence line. Other hardwoods include maple, ash, beech and mature American elm trees. Sassafras trees are also abundant; at one time, oil was extracted from their roots and bark for use in soaps and medicines.

History:

Long before European settlers came to Andover, the Penacook Indians traveled up and down the Merrimack River, fishing and hunting game. A Penacook village was located on Pine Island and burial grounds have been found near the riverbank. Local Indian artifacts can be seen at the Phillips Academy Peabody Museum. During the last quarter of the 17th century, the Penacook Indians were feared by the residents of Andover. In 1675, the Indians attacked from the north, crossing the river, killing some settlers and taking others hostage. Much of “Moose Country,” the flat sandy plain from Fish Brook to present-day Lawrence (then a part of Andover) was dotted with garrisons to protect the farmers. A blockhouse that stored armaments was located in what is now nearby Deer Jump Reservation.

 

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