Saturday, March 22, 2008

Simon's Hill Threatened

by JimP
I received an e-mail yesterday concerning a possible site in MA threatened by development. According to the author of the e-mail, plans are currently underway to build 200 condos on Simon's Hill in Norwell, MA.

Are there stone structures on Simon's Hill? Unfortunately, I'm 1700 miles away so I don't know. But I can tell you that Simon's Hill is chock full of Native history. The hill itself is named for an Indian who lived there. Furthermore, the Massachusetts Historical Commission wrote in a Reconnaissance Report in their Town Survey between 1979 and 1987 that on and about Simon's Hill were evidences of Late Woodland, First Period, and Colonial Period Native occupation. In fact, it says, "vestiges of native population," occupied the site as late as the latter half of the 18th century.

According to the topo map from the 19th century above, the hill is surrounded by two swamps. Both swamps have very interesting names. One is called Burnt Plain Swamp -- perhaps named for the twice-yearly burning done by the Indians near that site? The other is called Hoop Pole Swamp -- the Native American hoop and pole game perhaps?

Nonetheless, this site has so much Native history and is very much threatened. If anyone out there could do some investigating, I think this one may be worthwhile.


pwax said...

Sounds good but it is too far away for me, Jim.

JimP said...

You're saying this to a man with a 1 hour and 45 minute daily morning commute.

Anonymous said...

I will see if I have time in the n ext week to look it over, I am preparing for a trip to Nova Scotia. However, I will do my best to get there.
Dr. Meli.

pwax said...

I'll keep it in mind. I checked the more recent topos and aerials and it definately looks worth a visit.

Anonymous said...

I think they are going to be required to do an archaeological survey for the proposed project (low income housing condos-like 200 units) so hopefully it will get professionally investigated. I'd visit it myself, but it is private land and shouldn't be trespassed illegally on.

Janet Watson said...

Hello, I am a new member of the Norwell Historical commission. This topic came up at a meeting last night and I found your blog which researching the issue. The condos weren't built and the area is still preserved and the Historical Commission is advocating for preservation restrictions. Hope this is helpful so many years after your post.
Janet Watson