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Map 13: Merrill Park Trail

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Features

  1. Walking trails
Trail Access
PDF Map | Map 13 Printable Friendly Text

From I-93 Exit 16, turn right onto Eastman Street. Merrill Park will be on your left. Parking is available in the lot.

The Trails
Hiking travel time: about 10-15 minutes for the Merrill Park loop, about 1 hour additional time for the SPNHF trails (Map 14)
Distance: about 3/4 miles on the loop

Leave the parking lot from the Eastman Street side. Cross the culvert at the end of the pond and look for the map box across the clearing. The trail goes into the woods at the north edge of the pond. Parts of the trail are steep and slippery as it winds up and down and along the bank of the brook. Take a right and walk about 100 feet on the road, and then take the loop back along the other side of Mill Brook. This trail will take you on level ground through the woods and back to the park playground and parking lot. OR, to extend your walk significantly, you can continue on the Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF) trails along the Merrimack River floodplain by crossing Portsmouth Street into the SPNHF parking lot. 

History
East Concord was along the main route to Portsmouth. Produce of various kinds was hauled to market from north and west on a road that ran through Sanbornton, Canterbury, and the northeastern part of Concord. On this route in East Concord, John Hoyt built a tavern that was famous in its day. The oven was so large that a boy of 12 years old could enter it and turn around. This tavern remained in operation from 1780 to Mr. Hoyt’s death in 1805.

The route to Portsmouth eventually became the beginning of the first east west turnpike from Concord to Portsmouth. Just South of the park at the intersection of Eastman Street and Portsmouth Street there is a marker recognizing the turnpike. The property where Merrill Park is located was first used as a hayfield for the Hoyts. It was then purchased by William Pecker, who was appointed to the first Board of Fire Engineers in 1845. In 1845, when the City Charter was approved, William Pecker was appointed as Ward 2 representative to the Board of Assessors. Through Jonathan Pecker, who acquired the property in 1873, it was conveyed to the Episcopal Church with the provision that when the church had no further use of the property that the land “revert to the City of Concord for a public Park”. On February 11, 1938 the provision was carried out. The following year the City began to draw plans for the Park.

In 1960 the park was named Merrill Park after Harold D. Merrill, a resident of East Concord, and a member of the Board of Aldermen from 1932 to 1942. A pioneer in outdoor recreation, Merrill devoted 25 years to promoting public recreation and guiding youth to use leisure hours to build healthy bodies and good habits.