Almost as an afterthought

Designed somewhat in the appearance of a 19th century mill, a second multiuse tower has been rising on the north bank of the Cocheco River downtown. What has popped up rather expectedly, or so it would seem, is the two small buildings at the water’s edge.

At first I thought they might be boathouses, like those along the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, many of them for university crew teams. It would make sense here and be a charming touch.

But I was wrong. These two structures, almost dollhouses next to the larger development, are being touted as “the Cottages at Rivers Mark.” Five apartments for rent, in all. I suppose you could fish from your tiny porch.

Down by the riverside.
Next to the Chestnut Street bridge.

Silent autumn reflections

Colorful foliage reflects in a cove along the Cocheco River just a few blocks from downtown Dover. At one time, the site was used to cut blocks of ice each winter for sale to cities to the south each summer.

The picture was taken from this former railroad bridge that’s now a highlight of the Community Trail.

Now, if we only had a place to put a canoe or kayak into the water.

A troubling cry

X-ing out Community.

This splash of graffiti, defacing another’s work hailing the Dover Community Trail, offends me on several counts. One is its very hostility to any greater good. Community Trail means public, open to all, yet this anonymous voice seemingly opposes that. I doubt they’d want it to be posted No Trespassing, either. As for the “us”? How about standing up and identifying yourself? You sound pretty alienated, lonely, and ultimately selfish to me.

Here’s the companion mural on the adjacent bridge pillar along the Cocheco River.

All the renovation going on in town

Followers of this blog have seen the ongoing transformation of my small city’s downtown into a residential mecca.

We’re fortunate to be in a part of the country that has appeal based in part on its proximity to the ocean and mountains as well as the big-city attractions of Boston an hour away, without the crowding and cost of living.

The elimination of the bottlenecks between us and Interstate 95 ten miles away has also made Dover a more affordable real estate alternative compared to Portsmouth’s bloated high prices – even though I’m still in sticker-shock-land when I see what the purchases and rentals are going for. (Who can afford this?)

I had wondered, too, what the impact of all the new luxury apartments downtown would have on the older apartments. Would rental prices fall as a result? Some of the places were what you might call sketchy. And some, even only a few blocks from our place, are distinctly slummy.

What’s surprising me is the number of older rentals that are undergoing upgrades. Plumbing, windows, drywall, kitchens, flooring, even the wiring. It seems to be happening everywhere, though largely out of sight unless you start knocking on doors.

I’m still nervous about the economy in general, but it seems Dover’s in a good place to bounce back after Covid.

Aloft in color

Hardwoods along the high school athletic field.

The Columbus Day weekend is typically touted as “prime foliage” across much of New England, though we can quibble. In truth, the leaves of the deciduous trees change color in waves rather than all at once. Many are already bare, while many others are still green. And this year, severe drought has taken a toll, too.

Sometimes they seem aflame.

While Allen Ginsberg once quipped, “New England, famed for red leaves,” the reality is that few trees fulfill that vision. Far more are golden or buttery. Still, we keep looking.

By the end of the month, our landscape will emerge monotone – and likely remain that way well into March. Knowing what’s ahead, we savor what we can now.

The Cocheco River at Whittier Falls.
Don’t forget to look underfoot, too. And don’t overlook the impact of purple.

~*~

For my in-depth thoughts and photos reflecting New England’s fall folige, check out my posts from September and October 2013 at my Chicken Farmer I Still Love You blog.

Facts about the mills in Dover

  1. The Cocheco Manufacturing Company had the largest overshot flywheel in the world. It powered the looms and shuttles inside the long five- and six-story building.
  2. It was the scene of the first all-women’s strike in U.S. back in 1828.
  3. The mills once had 1,200 workers.
  4. There were more than 100 company-owned boarding houses.
  5. The town itself wrapped around the mills rather than to one side.
  6. Less than half of the mill complex remains.
  7. The printworks produced 1,000 new patterns a year.
  8. Mill workers received free milk from the company’s herd on Milk Street. Urine from the cows was essential as the fix (stabilizer) for dyes in the fabrics.
  9. Calico, sateen, velvet, and seersucker were the principal textiles produced.
  10. Fire was a constant threat, on occasion erupting spectacularly.