This trail is approximately 0.1 mile in length providing pedestrian access to the Hannah Duston Memorial located on an island at the mouth of the Contoocook River. The trail runs along a currently dormant railroad track that ends a short distance north of the monument. However, that track must have been an important part of a busy railroad line from the time that the adjacent railroad was completed to Woodsville NH in 1852 through the 1950's. Accordingly, this otherwise insignificant trail must be mentioned as an important example during any discussion of the new 'Rail-with-Trail' concept!
In 1874 a 35 foot granite monument and statue of Hannah Duston was placed at the site of the escape in Boscawen. The monument and surrounding island, except for the railroad right of way was deeded to the state. ["New Hampshire's Parklands" by Bruce Sloane]
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USGS Topo map of Hannah Dustin Memorial
The beginning of the Rail-with-trail. Digital photograph by Kenyon F. Karl on April 27, 1998.
Hannah Dustin Memorial - Digital photograph by Kenyon F. Karl on April 27, 1998.
The following Web Sites provide more information about Hannah Dustin:
USGS Topo map of South end of Trail
South end of the Northern Line Rail-trail near Penacook. Digital photograph by Kenyon F. Karl on December 18, 1999.
The south end of the Northern Line Rail-trail is located at a farm crossing adjacent to River Road about 1.9 miles south of Boscawen Station. River Road is a lightly used town road that begins at the south end of the Boscawen settlement and runs roughly parallel to the rail-trail, and continues alongside the currently dormant railroad track under Route 4 to a sharp turn in the road near the Hannah Duston Memorial about 2.5 miles southeast of Boscawen. The road becomes Commercial Street after the turn and runs between the abandoned buildings of a tannery to East Street in the Penacook district of Concord.
Trail access is available at the following points:
Farm crossing to adjacent River Road at end of track about 1.9 miles south of Boscawen
Farm crossing to adjacent River Road about 1.0 miles south of Boscawen
River Road near the end of the Rail-trail - Digital photograph by Kenyon F. Karl on April 27, 1998.
Route 4 overpass adjacent to the Hannah Dustin Memorial. Digital photograph by Kenyon F. Karl on April 27, 1998.
Please note that the railroad line between Penacook and Concord appears to be unused. However the track has not been formally abandoned and hence train operation could easily resume without notice. In any event, this railroad track contains many potentially dangers for trespassers!
The Hannah Dustin Memorial is at the end of a very short Rail-with-trail that begins across the railroad track near the sharp turn in the road just south of the Route 4 overpass.
The Parking Area for the Hannah Dustin Memorial is next to Route 4 a short distance uphill from the beginning of the rail-with-trail trail to the Memorial. Because this parking area is also used for commuter parking purposes, it may be full during the day on weekdays. Conversely, this parking lot is very easy to find from the nearby exit of I-93 and thus particularly suitable for automobile pick up and drop off purposes.
The following Statewide Bicycle Routes are near the Hannah Dustin Memorial:
US Route 4 at the Hannah Dustin Parking Area
Merrimack St to Penacook Rd (a short distance south of the west end of the East Street river bridge.
Note that all of the following trail facilities are available in downtown Penacook, about 0.8 mile west of the Hannah Dustin Memorial:
The best way to reach downtown Penacook from the Hannah Dustin Memorial is to go west on Commercial Street between the abandoned tannery buildings, then turn southwest on East Street crossing the river and continuing for another 0.3 miles to the downtown area, then turn south 0.1 mile on South Main Street to the monument.
Concord Area Transit service to Penacook stops at a gazebo at Washington St. near the Monument in downtown Penacook on Weekdays only. Note that Concord Area Transit does not accommodate skis or bicycles!
A Pizza Parlor is located at the intersection of East Street and South Main St.. Toilets and water are presumably available upon request at the restaurant when it is open for business.
A convenience store is located across from the Monument in downtown Penacook offering hot and cold beverages and other refreshments as well as limited groceries. A sign on the door indicates that toilets and phones are not available at the store!
The Penacook Branch of the Concord Library is located near the Monument in downtown Penacook.