Adventureland     formerly at 1 Scotland Road, at the intersection with Route 95

In operation from the 1950s - 1969.  A gentleman whose family rented the caretaker’s house following the park's closing describes Adventureland:  As you face the State Police Station you are looking at what was once the parking lot of Adventureland.  An oval-shaped driveway circled around the parking lot, with a road to the left which led to a house and the other to the Castle, which was the main entrance.   As you passed through the Castle you could follow one of three roads.  If you went to the right, you headed to the Old Lady in the Shoe Slide and The Three Bears’ House and on to the Lion Cages and then a fenced-in area with other animals.  If you stayed straight there was a gingerbread house which served as a concession stand and then to Jack and the Beanstalk. If you went to the left, you passed the souvenir shops and then the ship which looked out over Route 95, then to Dodge City, the Railroad Ride, and then to Fort Apache.  A little red schoolhouse and Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater were also in this vicinity.  The road then looped around to the back of Jack and the Beanstalk to a roller coaster, merry-go-round, and other amusements.  When Route 95 was expanded to a four-lane highway in the late 1970s, the state took the sign for Adventureland and the caretaker’s house.  The rest of the property was sold to the state, which razed the entire park.

Byfield Woolen Mill     formerly at the falls, Byfield

This mill was the first incorporated textile mill in Massachusetts, established in 1794.  The first year it was open, one could visit the mill for 10 cents admission.  Sleighing parties from all across the region made the trip to see the mill in production.  The building was 100 feet long, 40 feet wide and three stories high, quite

a sight at a time when a typical village mill might be 45 feet long, 20 feet wide and only two stories high.  In this same building, Jacob Perkins of Newburyport developed the first nails which were both cut and headed by machine in America.  It was rebuilt after a fire in 1860, but a fire in 1932 leveled the entire building.  All that is left today is the mill dam at the Central Street bridge over the Parker River and the foundation on the east side of Central Street.

Additional mills at the falls... Dave Mountain has written a fantastic booklet on the history of the Byfield mills.

Open it here.

Chipman Mine     formerly off of Scotland Road

Silver was discovered in a large field off Scotland Road in 1878. The Chipman Silver Mine produced $500,000 worth of silver before it closed in 1925.

Fernald's Auto Inn     formerly on High Road, south of Parker River Bridge

In the "lawn" photo, the Parker River Bridge begins its northbound river crossing behind the two women.  Today Fernald's Marine can be found on this spot; they are the largest dealer of small boats in New England.

Larkin Mill     formerly on Larkin Road, Byfield

Also known as the Wheeler-Tenney Mill and Larkin-Morrill Mill, little is known of its early history.  As far back as 1697 we find recorded David Wheeler of Rowley conveying to his son Nathan 30 acres in Newbury, including the mill site.  Nathan granted his son, Nathan Jr., the land in 1734.  It is thought that the most current buidling was built sometime in the 1770s.  In 1796 Nathan Jr.'s children, Sarah Sawyer of Newburyport and Rebecca Noyes of Newbury, sold the 70 acres to Joseph Pearson.  In 1804 Pearson conveyed 2.25 acres "together with the mill standing thereon" to Deacon Samuel Tenny of Newbury.  It is believed that Deacon Tenney converted the c. 1770s mill to snuff production shortly thereafter.  An 1811 map lists "Tenney's Snuff Factory" on the site.  Thomas Larkin and Orlando Morrill purchased the mill sometime between 1822 and 1837.  In the 1870s, Gorham Tenney and Daniel Bailey purchased the major interest in the mill from Larkin's heirs.  The mill was purchased by the Pearson Tobacco Company of Kittery, Maine in 1899, and was later known as the Byfield Snuff Company.  During the 20th century the mill was also known as Byfield Snuff Factory No. 1 and snuff grinding continued at the site until 1951.

 

For many years the building lay dormant.  In 1990 the building was purchased by the town of Newbury but the site was never developed.  The building fell into severe disrepair and became a public safety hazard.  It was razed in April 2012.

Little's Store     formerly corner of High Road and Parker Street

The exterior photo here is of the building that stood until 1885, when it was destroyed by fire.  A new store was built on the same site, and the interior photo is most likely that of the new store.

Main Street Grist Mill     formerly Main Street, Byfield

For many years Indian corn was the staple food of New England since wheat suffered from blights and never did well in the New England soil and climate.

Bread was commonly made from a mixture of cornmeal and rye flour. Indian corn and other grains must be broken up before it becomes edible. Pounding corn

by hand is very laborious work and does not produce a fine cornmeal. Grinding between millstones, however, produces a fine-textured cornmeal and so, almost as soon as New England was colonized, grist mills were constructed in every settlement. A map of the Parker River mills from 1807 shows that there were four grist mills along the stretch of river between the falls at Central Street and River Street in Byfield.  The grist mill shown here is no longer standing.

Oldtown Country Club     Marsh Avenue (building has been replaced)

Established in 1902, the Oldtown Country Club featured fireworks displays, band concerts, and musical revues.  The building shown here was destroyed by fire on May 29, 1964, and a new structure was built soon after.  Today, the club features boating, swimming pools, dining, and family activities.

Parker River Pavilion / Marston's     formerly High Road at Parker River bridge

Later called Marston's, the Parker River Pavilion was located at the town landing in front of the Dole-Little house.  In this view an electric car has brought diners to the popular eating spot - you can just make out the shape of a lobster on the sign at the top left to the photo.  It was advertised as "one of the coolest resorts in this vicinity."

Pearson's Snuff Mill     Main Street, Byfield

This mill was operated until 1986 by Mr. Benjamin Pearson, a direct descendent of the Benjamin Pearson referred to by Sarah Emery in Reminiscences of a Nonagenarian. This mill site has a history stretching back to the late 17th century.  In 1687 the town of Newbury granted 50 acres of land on the Parker River to Peter Cheney “on the condition that he build a corn or grist mill within two years and a fulling mill within three years, at the upper falls.  Between 1705 and 1709 Benjamin Pearson (the grandfather of the man referred to by Sarah) purchased these mills from the Cheney family and shortly after built a house, near the fulling mill, that still stands today.  Pearson's sawmill was built about 1830 and converted to handle production of snuff in the 1860s.  This is the oldest building in the Pearson mill complex.

The Village Smithy     Main Street, Byfield

Pearson's Blacksmith Shop serviced both the mills and nearby farmers.  In the exterior photo, Joseph Pearson is standing in the doorway, with Sherman A. Ordway and Isaiah Rogers.  According to tradition, Longfellow's The Village Smithy is based on a trip to this blacksmith shop.  Today the building has been converted into a private home.

Newbury Historical Commission   : :   25 High Road   : : Newbury MA 01951   : :   HistoricalComm@TownOfNewbury.org   : : www.Newbury1635.org