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MHA Historic Preservation Awards

The Amoskeag Ledge

Brownies - 1974-125-024Saturday, February 9, 2019
Presented by historian Ed Brouder
11:00 a.m. 
Included with regular admission to the Millyard Museum
Free to members of the Manchester Historic Association
Pre-registration is requested - Please call (603)622-7531

As the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company's textile mills were being constructed along the Merrimack River, stone was needed to build the foundations of the massive buildings. In 1873 a quarry was opened atop Company Hill (also known as Oak Hill and still later as Derryfield Park). Tons of granite was dragged from the Amoskeag Ledge down Blodget Street by teams of oxen – until the day the quarry began filling with water from an underground spring. The Ledge began its second life as a popular 1920s swimming attraction, especially for a group of year-round swimmers known as the Brownies. Their exhibitions and daring dive routines attracted thousands of spectators. The Ledge also had a dark side – claiming at least ten victims in its 60-foot deep waters. Eventually the Ledge was donated to the City of Manchester but the swimming hole wasn't closed until 1983...largely because of Nora Kennard Jones who owned half of the land. Learn about the Ledge...remember the Brownies...and discover a powerful 20th century socialite in this illustrated talk by local historian Ed Brouder.

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