Stearns Hill
Rochester, NH

Many thanks to Bruce Taylor who wrote the following on Stearns Hill!

Stearns Hill was/is located about three or so miles from the center of Rochester on the Ten Rod Rd. It was the cornfield and pasture land of a working farm owned by the Stearns family. During the winter, locals were allowed the use of the hill for skiing and sledding providing one had the ambition to climb to the top under his own power. I recall stories of my parents and other relatives using the hill in their youth, which would have set the time back to the early thirties. My guess is that its use probably goes back even further. I learned to ski there in the mid fifties. I can remember quite vividly, cars parked on both sides of the road after a fresh snowfall, and the side of the hill crawling like ants with skiers, footpacking the snow, to gain those few precious moments of downhill exhilaration.

The early sixties saw the installation of a rope tow. I don’t recall the details of exactly when or who was responsible. I figure that it was around an 800’ tow and it remained in service for several seasons. A serious accident involving the tow and the subsequent liability and insurance issues brought about its demise around 1963 or 1964. Up until then, the local ski club ( the “Blue Hills Ski Club” ) made use of the hill providing lessons and races for area kids as well as holding events for its annual winter carnival.

If you drive by the hill today the old farm is still there. I don’t know if the same family still owns it or not. There is also a beautiful home at the top of the hill now, and although it looks a little different, the sight of the hill still takes me back.

An interesting side note; after this rope tow closed, the man who operated it is the same man who opened and operated the rope tow at Candy Mountain in Brookfield. I don’t remember his name or anything more about him, but as kids, we all called him “Woody”.

I hope this may help spark some memories. If so, please share.

Jeremy Note-a 1940 guidebook lists the area as having a 600 foot tow, so it may have opened earlier than thought.

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