Tour: Keene Walking Tour and Hillsborough Bridges

By: Gretchen Ziegler, GSA Stonewall Farm Class of 2004 & Ginks Leiby, GSA League of NH Craftsmen Concord Class of 2012

Jenna Carroll met us in Keene’s Central Square to start her talk on the Badass Women, those who led the suffrage for women crusade in the Monadnock Region. She allowed that there was not a lot of information, sometimes even the first names of women, because they were all known as Mrs. (husband’s name) Jones!! Also, most of the national leaders of the suffrage campaign went to Concord or Manchester. We walked to the Keene Library, and after checking out the new areas, went outside where we could see the original building, the home of one of the suffragette leaders who later donated her home, funds and books to start the library. Across the street, where the parking garage for the Court House is now, was the old high school. (I know how old it was because my mother was in the first class in the “new high school”, Class of ’29.) Some of the events and the elections were held at the high school. We circled around the block to see several other homes and learned the stories of the women who lived in them.

On our way back to Central Square, we stopped at the Walldogs painting of the Abenakis and Jenna told us the story of one of the women in the scene who had led the way for non-white women to get the vote. Did you know that the women who got the vote 101 years ago were only white women? We finished up on the north side of the Square with the stories and events that occurred there. We then did the dash to Hillsborough – since we had asked so many questions we were late finishing!!

Due to all the questions asked in Keene, we were half an hour late starting the bridge tour in Hillsborough. However, this gave the weather a reason to get better as the skies began to clear from the day before. Christina Chadwick, bridge expert and President of the Hillsborough Historical Society, led us on a tour of four important bridges in the area. First up was the once triple arch bridge located at the corner of 202 and West Main. Two of the arches were over water and the third arch, no longer standing, was for livestock to travel from pasture to pasture on either side of the bridge. Next up was the Carr bridge, located at the corner of Beard Road and Shedd Jones Road. A dry laid bridge, the Carr bridge is one of the older bridges. During the Christmas holidays, neighbors decorate the bridge with wreaths and greens. On our tour, the bridge was decorated with patriotic bunting as usual during the summer months. The third bridge was the Gleason Falls Bridge on Beard Road which actually runs beneath the road. Two sets of waterfalls runs beneath making a fantastic and roaring site filled with natural beauty. Onward we went to the last bridge on the tour located on Gleason Falls Road. Located here is an old foundation of a mill. After a final round of questions, Christina led us to the Hillsborough Heritage Museum for a brief tour.