Monday, May 13, 2013

Tall trees with view

The line of trees along the top edge of the current Conifer Hill construction project set me to thinking...

This curve of road is familiar. For my first 14 years I lived in a small house on the left (where parking lot by office buildings is now visible); we then moved across the street, up the hill, to a new house at 121 Nichols Street (now 121 Conifer Hill Drive).

I'm astonished at the drastic cutaway of the hill. No trace remains of the foundation of our house or its yard or my mother's gardens, nor of my father's garage. Only some trees back along the property line...

This view is from the intersection of Rand Circle (a road that didn't exist in my day) and Nichols Street (current Conifer Hill Drive).  What's to become of the trees on that ridge? Are any of them the same trees my father climbed?  And his ancestors before him?

See what I wrote for this month's column, published in the Danvers Herald Thursday, May 9, and posted online the next day:

Tall trees with a view to Salem

For more about the Conifer Hill development, see my recent post (below).

Monday, May 6, 2013

Conifer Hill changes

On Friday afternoon April 26, en route from a family funeral in Salem to a family visit in Maine, I drove through Danvers and paused briefly to survey once again the landscape of my childhood. Drastic changes were in progress behind a construction company’s chain-link fence. As I viewed the altered terrain,  contradictory images — some real, some imagined vaguely from family stories, some remembered vividly from my childhood — flickered in rapid succession through my mind.  I took photos to document this moment, this latest transition, in the history of the property once known as "Locust Lawn."

I've written my May column in reaction to that scene, focusing on stories connected to the tall trees at the hilltop.  

Since writing that column I have searched for basic information about the Conifer Hill development, seeking to understand what is coming.  Here are some helpful links about the planning of this new project, which is called Conifer Hill Commons:

I note that the address is 121 Conifer Hill Drive, the very same number at which I lived (121 Nichols Street).  Same location, same curve of the street, but almost everything else has changed.

I'm sure I will write more in the future about this property, which has had a very rich history. It was once part of the Prince family land in the 17th century.