Written by GOseacoast Walks
SCENIC LOCAL WALKS
Second only to Mount Agamenticus, the tower atop Garrison Hill is the best place to take in the entire seacoast region. Thanks to hard working volunteers, this popular Dover attraction has been fully restored. Scarcely visible from the road, this tower is Dover’s secret jewel. Visitors must know where to turn to climb the hill get a natural high, seek out this Dover landmark. (Click above for photo tour)
Name: Garrison Hill Park & Tower
Location: Off Central Avenue between Dover downtown and the "miracle mile" mall area. Turn right on Abbey Sawyer Road at sign just before the entrance to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.
Resources: Picnic area, sledding and snowboarding in winter
Rules: Carry out your own trash,
Dogs: On leash in park, but not up tower.
Hours: Park closed 9:30 pm to 7 am from April 1 to Sept 30. Closed 7pm to 7am from October 1 to March 31.
Complete tower history web site
Not all scenic walks are horizontal, even in the Seacoast. A trip up the Garrison Tower is among the most exciting, especially in a stiff breeze on a sunny fall afternoon. The tower is a welded metal structure of 76 feet with wooden stairs and platforms.
From this Dover tower at a 298 foot elevation visitors can see, on a clear day, both the Isles of Shoals and the White Mountains. Despite the dramatic 360 degree view, there are no major buildings nearby. The web site listed above includes a detailed summary of what visitors can see in all directions. New visitors may want to run off a printed copy from the Internet and bring it along.
From earliest times, this hill was a signaling site for Native Americans. The first wooden observatory was built here in 1880 along with a now defunct ice skating rink. The city of Dover purchased the 8-acre hill in 1888 and a tower was built in 1913 and later a ski slope for locals. By 1970 the deteriorated tower had to be fenced off by the city, but it was restored by a dedicated group of local citizens. Then in 1994 a new tower was built on the site of the original structure following 9000 hours of volunteer work.
In an era of increasing fees and heavily-monitored locations, it is especially nice to find the tower open for free to the public. Other than the presence of graffiti (and some of it is pretty funny, like "No Jumping Zone" next to an arrow that says "Jump Here") the tower is neatly maintained and frequently accessible.
All photos and text by SeacoastNH.com © 2005. All rights reserved.
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