A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 188

Adios, amigo

In this town, there is such a shameful disregard for things historic that in their haste to lionize the new, authorities jeopardize the old! (Great sentence but shouldn't that be leopardize? - Editor.)

To get to the point, and with tears streaming unashamedly down my cheeks, I report that faceless bureaucrats have suddenly up and filled in Hackett's Crevasse. Or, at least, they forced a shocked and grief-stricken road crew to do so last Monday. Out of the blue, the most famous and ancient geological fissure in Strafford, Belknap and Carroll counties, not to mention eastern Maine, wiped out with the stroke of a pen and 100 yards of hot top!

In the beginning

So let us pause and pay quiet tribute to the passing of an old friend, for the origins of Hackett's Crevasse go back into the mists of time. Some scientists contend it formed during the last Ice Age as a glacier retreating up River Road created a kettle - a kind of steep-sided depression within the moraine deposit.

"Hogwash!" cry rival boffins and claim Hackett's Crevasse has obviously been dug out of the terrain by Woodland Indians some 11,000 years ago and used as a testing pond for a fleet of war canoes needed to repulse a Massachusetts tribe filtering into the area.

"Poppycock" yell others and insist this crater is the result of a meteor impact, while a fourth group of eggheads, the Modernists, spout that Hackett's Crevasse dates back no further than the late 1700s and was dug by trappers to catch moose and bear.

I guess now, unless some kindly archeologist undertakes an excavation, we will never know its true ancestry.

The bitter end

Be this as it may, the crevasse has stood there a very long time, and now it ain't around no more, and watching Pete Dickie sob uncontrollably as he dumped and flattened out the tar with a steam roller was a heartbreaking experience. Road Agent Clark Hackett (who is named in honor of this famous feature) was also overcome by anguish at the death of his crevasse, and had to be physically restrained by Richie Page and Rick Washburn from throwing himself into the hole just before the first truckload of hot-top was tipped in.

Now Hackett's Crevasse is just a memory. Never again will Fish and Game stock it with trout every spring. Never again will it devour a Foster's paperboy. The last daredevil on a winter toboggan has hurtled down its icy slopes. Perhaps, as a final tribute, a historical marker should be erected at the side of River Road, but what inscription could be carved thereon to adequately express our feelings?

Any suggestions? $3 to the best response.

The purge continues

The urge to sweep aside the old is not confined to a River Road pothole, however, for even as Clark and his gallant crew were laying Hackett's Crevasse to rest, downtown the Hayward Block was being demolished by heartless machinery. This building on South Main Street dates back to the 19th century and some say it is almost as old as Maurice Weymouth from the fire station, next door.

Moreover, Royce's familiar display of secondhand stoves and freezers may soon be just a nostalgic memory, for a legal battle is brewing over their right to brighten up South Main Street with their peculiar white-enameled charm. Rochester District Court public benches are expected to be packed on the afternoon of Oct. 10 when the re-incarnation of U.S. Vice-president Henry Wilson (see Farmington Corners 125 and 136) appears in person to defend himself against the scurrilous insinuation that he operates a junkyard without a permit.

September 21, 1991

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