Grafton Notch and the Screw Auger Falls and the Jail Cell

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Come along again with Columnist Dick Pinette as he explores another fascinating part of our Northwoods. This time he takes us to Grafton Notch, where we’ll marvel at Screw Auger Falls and the natural rock formation called the “Jail Cell” (Dick is shown here at its entrance). The other notches–Crawford, Pinkham and Franconia–may be more well known, but Grafton, just across the line in Maine, offers visitors a chance to explore a quieter, but nonetheless interesting natural attraction in our own backyard. As a bonus treat this month, he also shares with readers his visit to the Oquossoc Hatchery in Maine, where he watched as “fish doctors” vaccinated sleeping salmon.

This month marks the 90th anniversary of the construction of the current Colebrook Academy building. The dedication ceremony on November 7, 1911, was an occasion of considerable celebration in Colebrook, attracting among its visiting dignitaries former New Hampshire Governor Chester B. Jordan. Jordan had been the head teacher at the school at one point during the 1860s. We are grateful to Virginia Stickney for loaning us the 1911 local press account of the dedication event. The story has a very topical aspect to it. As these words are written, the town of Colebrook is building a brand-new school complex at the south end of town. The building project, which began during the summer, takes in a portion of the elementary school (which is being completely refurbished) and will replace the primary building, which will be razed once the current project is completed. At some later date, the planners hope that phase two of the building project will be approved by town voters. This will see the relocation of Colebrook Academy to this complex. Historians hope that at that time the 1911 Academy building will continue serving the community in some new, refurbished capacity.

A giant of the Great North Woods passed away last month: Neil Tillotson at the age of 102. Born in the 19th century, his long life is an inspiration to us all. He has on occasion been the subject of features in this magazine, including Charlie Bury’s excellent portrait of the man published in our January 1999 issue. Last spring Neil Tillotson gave his last local interview when he took our Associate Editor Susan Zizza on a walk through his ancestral grounds in Beecher Falls, Vt., and neighboring East Hereford, Quebec. Susan shares with readers her day with Mr. T. She’d like to thank the Tillotson family for making the day possible, as well as East Hereford cemetery trustee Waldo Owen and Cheryl Owen Clogston, who made the old Halls Stream Cemetery records available.

We spent a wonderful morning attending the dedication of the new statue to General John Stark unveiled in his namesake town of Stark in September. Coming so recently after the terrible events of September 11, the day held special significance to all who were on hand to see this latest tribute to the man credited with saying “Live Free or Die.” Stark certainly is one of the most historically conscious communities in the north and we congratulate all for this latest fine addition to its village.

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Charles J. Jordan 
Editor