Skip to main content

Old New Hampshire Route 10 in Keene, New Hampshire

The people who know me best know that I am as much of a waterfall enthusiast as I am a road enthusiast. When I was looking to make a day trip to southwestern New Hampshire in May 2018, I decided to check out Beaver Brook Falls in Keene. What I wasn't expecting is that the trail to the waterfall is a well preserved old alignment of NH 10 leading northeast from the city of Keene. That was a pleasant surprise. The old alignment of NH 10 is on a road called Washington Street Extension, which was bypassed by the early 1980s by a northern bypass of Keene utilizing NH 9 and NH 10.

Not too much has changed with the old road since the bypass opened other than the forces of time. The old pavement, guide rail posts and bridge over the Beaver Brook remain today in a quiet, forested environment. You can follow the old road about a half mile to the Old Man of Keene (a rock formation) and to Beaver Brook Falls, located 0.7 miles from the trailhead. Let's take a look and see what the old alignment of NH 10 in Keene looks like today...

The journey begins at a gate at the end of Washington Street Extension. The old road is now a nature walk operated by the City of Keene Parks & Recreation Department that brings you to the Old Man of Keene and Beaver Brook Falls. Parking is along the shoulder of Washington Street Extension.

You can notice some old pavement markings along the old road. The old road is being encroached by nature over time. Maybe that is by design, or maybe the road was not wide enough to begin with.

Continuing up the old road.

Some old guide rails.

Some sweeping curves too.
The Beaver Brook.
Crossing the Beaver Brook on an old bridge.
Some fallen rock meets the road.

Lots of leaves have collected along the old roadway, almost completely covering the road.

The Old Man of Keene, presumably named for its resemblance to the late, great Old Man of the Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.


Getting closer to Beaver Brook Falls, the old road hugs the hillside and the Beaver Brook. It's a bit narrow through this stretch, so you can see why a northern bypass of Keene for NH 10 was built on a different alignment.

The lands of Beaver Brook Canyon were generously donated to the City of Keene in 1969 for the public's enjoyment and passive recreation.

There is a pullout to the right, which is conveniently located next to Beaver Brook Falls.

Beyond the waterfall, the old alignment of NH 10 has returned to nature.

Beaver Brook Falls of Keene, not to be confused with the Beaver Brook Falls in Colebrook, New Hampshire. Beaver Brook Falls is a 12 foot tall plunge waterfall that cascades downstream. You won't get a good view of the waterfall from the old road, so you will need to make a short bushwhack down a slope to the Beaver Brook to check out the waterfall. There is a herd path down to the Beaver Brook that you may be able to make out from the old road itself.

A little wider view of Beaver Brook Falls. At this point, I took my picture, climbed the slope back to the old road and walked back to my car.



How to Get There:

Sources and Links:
New England Waterfalls - Beaver Brook Falls
NH Tour Guide - Beaver Brook Falls Keene NH
NH Family Hikes - Beaver Brook Falls
Keene Sentinel - History of the Keene bypass: Not entirely welcomed at first
Touring NH - Keene

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ghost Town Tuesday; Ben Hur Road/Road 613 to Raymond

While returning from the Mariposa Area this month I decided that I wanted to visit the quasi-ghost town of Raymond and take a "off the beaten path" roadway to get there.  I found just what I was looking for in Ben Hur Road in Mariposa County which reaches Raymond as Road 613 in Madera County.


Ben Hur Road begins on the outskirts of Mariposa near Mormon Bar at CA 49.  From CA 49 the route to Raymond is signed as being 23 miles to the south.


Interestingly Ben Hur Road isn't named after the famous 1959 movie but rather a ghost town along the roadway.  The community of Ben Hur has records showing it had a Post Office by said name in 1890 which obviously implies the community was named after the 1880 novel.  Unlike most roads of this kind the story of Ben Hur Road has been told previously by several newspapers in the 20th Century.

Oakland Tribune (September 1950) Trip to Mariposa via Ben Hur Road

Rock Fence is label of history on Quick Rance (Fresno Bee 1954)

The Oakland Tribu…

"Governor Hunt Cuts Ribbon on Doomsday" - The drawnout legal battle to build the I-95 Fayetteville Bypass

It is Monday, December 15, 1980.  North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt and many other dignitaries take part in a ribbon cutting ceremony opening a new 17 mile stretch of Interstate 95 in Cumberland County.  The new road bypasses Fayetteville to the east and completes Interstate 95 in North Carolina - closing a significant gap in what many consider the backbone highway of the East Coast.  The new road moved Interstate traffic from an at-grade, four lane US 301 lined with numerous motels and restaurants onto a fully controlled and traffic light-free limited access freeway. 

Meanwhile at a Quality Inn along US 301 in Fayetteville, a billboard read "Governor Hunt Cuts Ribbon on Doomsday."(1)

The ribbon cutting put an end to over a decade long heated battle over the routing of Interstate 95 around Fayetteville.  One that made it all the way to the steps of the United States Supreme Court.



Interstate 95 in North Carolina History:

The 181 mile Interstate 95 has a unique story in Nort…

Where the hell is Hill Valley? (US Route 8 south/US Route 395 east)

Recently I made a visit to Universal Studios near Los Angeles.  While on the back lot tour I came across a piece of infamous movie-borne fictional highway infamy; the location of town square of Hill Valley, California on US Route 8/US Route 395.


The above photo is part of the intro scene to the first Back-to-the-Future movie which was set in 1985. To anyone who follows roadways the signage error of US 8 meeting US 395 in California is an immediately notable error.  For one; US 8 doesn't even exist anywhere near California with present alignment being signed as an east/west highway between Norway, Michigan and Forest Lake, Minnesota.  To make matters worse US 8 is signed as a southbound route and US 395 (a north/south highway) is signed as an eastbound route.  At minimum the cut-out US 8 and US 395 shields somewhat resemble what Caltrans used in the 1980s.

Assuming Hill Valley is located on what would have been US 395 by 1985 what locales would be a viable real world analog?  US 39…