The massive stone walls of the Jenkins' millrace can still be seen from the trail at the AVIS Skug River Reservation.
Join the Andover Trails Committee and the Andover Historical Society this summer for a unique new hike series “Stories from the Trails.” Each hike, which is free and open to the public, will feature both the natural beauty and unique geology of the featured property, as well as colorful stories of Andover’s history specifically related to each property and the nearby areas.
On Sunday, June 27, we’ll meet at 1 p.m. at the A.V.I.S. Skug River Reservation in Andover, on Salem Street in Andover. Parking is available in the small reservation lot, with ample additional parking around the corner on Wagon Wheel Road. Sunday’s hike is approximately 2 miles of fairly level walking, and will take about 2 hours.
Most of the land that now makes up the Skug River Reservation belonged to several generations of the Jenkins family, who dammed the Skug River to power a profitable sawmill and gristmill. The dam has since washed away, but the massive stone walls of the millrace can still be seen from the trail. In the middle of the 19th century, William Jenkins and his partners quarried and polished stone on the site and used the mill to cut the locally abundant blue soapstone (a soft, greasy-feeling rock) into tombstones, building faces and other small items.
William Jenkins was also one of Andover’s most ardent Abolitionists. On our hike, we’ll see the Jenkins farmhouse, which was a station on the Underground Railroad, and a gathering place for William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe and the famous Hutchinson Family Singers.
The “Stories from the Trails” hike series will continue with hikes on July 25 at the AVIS Goldsmith Woodlands Reservation and on September 12 at Andover’s Pole Hill Reservation.