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Town Hill, Boone Park, and Dow Park

   

Town Hill, Boone Park, Dow Park [3]

Detail Map (45k)
Area Map (60k)

Size: Boone Park consists of 10 acres and Dow Park of 15.7. The two parks are surrounded by 99 acres of town owned land.

Location: The two parks and Town Hill are located at the top of Spring Street approximately .5 m from County Road and East Street. A sign marks the entrance to Dow Park on the right and a second sign points to Boone Park on the left.

Parking: Please do not park on the road. Turn left up the short hill towards Boone Park and you will find parking in a small field to the right and also by the park at Baker's Pond.

Permitted: Hiking, mountain bikes except when trails are very wet, cross-country skiing on the trails and skating on Baker's Pond in season. Dogs are welcome, but must be leashed.

Hours: Dawn to dusk.

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TOWN OF IPSWICH

History

The fifteen acres that make up Dow Park were given to the Town by Arthur Wesley Dow. Dow was born in Ipswich in 1857 and moved with his parents to Spring Street in 1861. He started painting in his teens and after a period as an art student and painter in Boston and then in Europe, he returned to Ipswich in 1889.

In 1890 he purchased 11 acres at the top of Spring Street which he called Bayberry Hill and there he built his studio looking out over the marshes towards Plum Island and the sea beyond. In 1891 he founded the Ipswich Summer School of Art and for fifteen summers thereafter enrolled up to 200 students.

Dow died in 1922. His widow lived on in the Spring Street home until her death in 1931. In 1929 she purchased another four acres adjacent to the original eleven. Unfortunately a year before her death, the studio which was to have been a part of Dow's gift to Ipswich burned down.

Dow's will reads: “I give to the Town of Ipswich Bayberry Hill (so called by me) within said town with a commanding view which is dear to me over the marshes, creeks, river and hill to the ocean to have and to hold by said town and its inhabitants forever for the use of the public as a place of recreation and enjoyment.” These words are inscribed on the boulder which sits at the end of the trail through Dow Park.

C. Daniel Boone Memorial Reservation is located on the top of Town Hill on the land surrounding Baker's Pond. The Reverend Daniel Boone, a direct descendant of famed frontiersman Danel Boone, was the minister at Ascension Memorial Church from 1941 to 1954. He was both politically active, a part of the movement to establish the town manager form of government in town (1951) and the chairman of the newly created Planning Board (1954), and ecumenically minded in his service to all the people of Ipswich.

He loved the natural beauty of Ipswich and worked hard to protect it, just as he loved the feeling of the community working together. He used to walk from the rectory on High Street up the hill to Baker's Pond which was to him a special place. When he died in 1957, the Rotary Club of which he had been an active member, asked the town to make the town-owned land into a park to be named for the Reverend Boone.

In 1959, members of the Rotary Club, placed a boulder and plaque honoring Boone and naming the park the C. Daniel Boone Memorial Reservation. The benches and fireplace that were installed then have been refurbished by the Rotarians. The park is an inviting place for residents to visit.

Trails

Dow Trail

  • On the right is the well-marked trail (less than 1/2 mile) that passes through the acres left to us by Dow to the boulder placed in his honor. It is possible to walk a short ways beyond the boulder to look out over the marshes. However, the land on both sides is privately owned, and all who walk the trail are requested to please respect the privacy of the owners.

Old Coach Trail

  • At the very entrance to Boone Park on the right is the Old Coach Trail so named for its use in past times. It winds down the hill, crosses the present power line (and old ski tow) and turns NW to what is known as “Second Sands” in recognition of the unexpected sand dune.

  • Just beyond this to the west is the entrance to the Highland Annex Cemetery, sometimes known as the Old Greek Cemetery. Wander through and look at the headstones. This borders on Fowler's Lane.

  • On your return, take the power line or one of the other trails leading up the hill. The several possible trails all lead to the road that circles the park around the water tower , parallels the Cowles Memorial Cemetery, passes by the west side of Baker's Pond and returns to the parking area.

  • As you walk along the dirt road towards the cemetery, you will notice a set of granite stairs on your left. These steps lead up to the small reservoir, almost hidden from sight, that drains into Baker Pond. If you wish, you can walk across one of the short trails that connect directly into the cemetery.

  • Wander through the cemetery roads. Look at the gravestones. You are looking at the history of our town. Then walk down the steep granite steps to the very old section of the cemetery that fronts on High Street. There you will find the gravestones of our very earliest town residents.