19. RIVERSIDE DRIVE AREA
Riverside Drive and its connecting lanes to the main campground road were all early features, in place by 1935. Riverside Drive extends as far north as the little brook crossing under it just beyond Midway Lane. At that point the pavement continues under the name of Hayes Field Drive.
Perhaps a September 1928 news report was referring to this area when it observed “Dolly Copp offers seclusion for those who prefer to camp apart and pleasant neighbors for those who seek companionship. The former find some cozy nook shaded by a birch clump while the latter group stakes their tents along the river bank.”
Riverside Drive after turning west,
Just north of Riverside Drive’s origin at the Main Campground Road is a slight rise of land. George and Bernice Brackett remember that campers in the thirties referred to this spot as “The Knoll”. They say that such descriptive names were used as practical identifiers before site numbering came into use.
There were two sites there, accessed from the north via a still used walkway once available for camping and known as “Notch View Lane.”
Before the trees grew in, the Knoll was a frequent spot for photos of Campground activity, capturing the good view to the south. Perhaps part of this historic view can be restored some day.
By 1940 part of the Campground had numbered sites. But unnumbered siting still prevailed in the open field “rectangles” formed by Riverside Drive, Swimming Pool Drive and connecting roads. From all these sections views of the Imp and Carter Moriah Range to the east are dramatic.
Camper’s memories were solicited for the 1996 75th anniversary celebration. Recorded were the sixties activities in this section of Richard and Dorothy Shouldis which will be familiar to many;
Our favorite campsites were Riverside Drive and the end of Birch Lane near the Peabody River. We swam most everyday in the Peabody River and we got the campers in the area to help put boulders across the river to dam up spots so you could even snorkel under water and watch the fish and find rocks like quartz, mica and garnets.
Photo courtesy of David Veit
View of Hayes Field looking down from
Our family reunion was in Dolly Copp this
Riverside Drive Site Details: The cliff or west bank river side of Riverside Drive now contains Sites 137 and 138, 140, 142, 146 and 150 - 153. To their rear the buffer of trees along the edge of the cliff above the Peabody was noted on the 1915 map.
These sites, perched steeply above the River, offer scenic water views.
The 1940 map referred to this entire area as
“Swimming Pool Field,” a reference to the feature
that existed for many years just northeast of the right angle
turn on Hayes Field Drive.
On Riverside Drive between Homestead Lane and Imp View Lane are Sites 147 and 148. These are also on original farm land with a small stream to their rear.
Between Imp View Lane and Midway Lane is Site 149. The 1915 map shows that this section of Riverside Drive was part of the old farm area.
As late as 1987 there was a Site 144 across from and just to the south of the intersection of Riverside Drive with Homestead Lane. It was removed after that year and the site number retired.
TOTEM POLES. The association of totem poles with Dolly Copp is a tradition of many decades.
George Brackett recalls two such poles near Riverside Drive in the forties. One pole became a sufficient symbol of Dolly Copp that it was included in an early fifties USFS Campground brochure.
Long time camper Jay Milliken recalls that when he first started visiting Dolly Copp in the early sixties there were two totem poles, one on either side of Midway Lane at its intersection with Hayes Field Drive. They were most likely the same set observed by George Brackett in the forties.
Mr. Milliken says these sixties poles were of painted pine, with axed noses and eyes, boards nailed across the back for wings, and wooden feathers cut and stuck in their tops. The taller was on the north side and the shorter to the south.
According to Mr. Milliken a man named Jacobs from Chelsea, Mass. was repainting them periodically. But in time he came no more.
As the years passed they decayed, the smaller one disintegrating first. The USFS staff had the foresight to preserve the larger one and today it is housed in the back room of the Visitor Center.
The campers with long time ties to sites in view of the poles, knowing that Jay had expert hobby talent as a wood carver, in 1982 asked him to create a replacement pole. They even picked and prepared a tree trunk for his use, a spruce taken by USFS permission from west of the phones in the old “Spruce Woods” of 1915.
He agreed, and with the blessings of the Forest Service, a new pole about eight and one half feet tall was raised, on 8/11/1982. It featured an American Eagle on top, Dolly Copp in the middle, and a fireman at the bottom, Jay being a professional fire fighter. It was located on the inside corner of the right angle bend on Hayes Field Drive.
The Berlin Reporter quotes Jay at the installation ceremony; “It’s really a campers’ contribution for our many years of enjoying Dolly Copp.” The newspaper also noted that “special permission was obtained from the USFS before the project was even started, and Milliken is grateful for their encouragement all along the way.”
But after a few years it became apparent that this pole was a little too short, as children could climb on it, and with its corner location some vehicles nicked it.
Mr. Milliken then carved a larger and more ambitious replacement, the one gracing this area until 2006, rose on 9/3/1993.
The was located on the east side of Hayes Field Drive, just across from Site 126 at the beginning of the path to the lavatories.
A Site 124, abandoned after 1987, was once just north of Site 123. It was at approximately the location of this latest Totem Pole.
The last totem featured an American Eagle on top, followed by Smokey the Bear (USFS promoter of fire safety) then Woodsie the Owl (USFS spokesman against littering), and finally Dolly Copp as the lowest of the four figures, her name also carved into the wood.
Unfortunately the base of the pole had rotted and it came down in 2006, last seen lying across rear steps of Visitor Center in mid-2008 (see below):
Jay Milliken remains an active camper and hobby
wood carver. Visiting his site in 2009 I saw a display of expertly
carved figurines, each representing a different occupation and
all marked "Dolly Copp 2009."
HOMESTEAD LANE. Homestead Lane hosts two sites, 159 and 160. One way traffic enters off of the Main Campground Road. This is a change from 1940 when two way traffic was still permitted.
The areas of Sites 159 and 160
and the land to their rear encompassing the walkway and Lavatory
#5 are shown on the 1915 map as the Copp Farm orchard.
NOTCH VIEW LANE. Few people now remember little Notch View Lane, unsigned now for over four decades. Its remnant is found between Sites 159 and 160 on Homestead Lane as a short paved pedestrian walkway providing access to Lavatory #5.
On the 1940 map this lane had more activity, used then as a camping spur of the same status as other loops and lanes.
Casey Hodgdon documents that up until about 1966 this short spur was posted as “Notch View Lane.” He says it then had an excellent view of Carter Notch, now obscured by vegetation. Casey believes the name sign was dropped at the time its tent sites were removed to avoid confusion with the spurs that did offer camp sites.
As already noted, George Brackett recalls that Notch View Lane accessed what was informally known as “The Knoll” to its rear, overlooking the beginning of Riverside Drive. He recalls the two sites there being removed in the sixties to make way for the lavatory now on the site.