Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Concord, Part I: Old Rifle Range

From Dave Brigham:

Concord, Mass., is well known for the important role it played in the Revolutionary War, and for the famous authors who lived there in the 19th century, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau and Louisa May Alcott.

Over the 20+ years I've lived in and around Boston, I've explored Concord and nearby towns a little bit. I've gone to Minute Man National Historical Park and Walden Pond, and shopped in the town center.

But the four-part series about the town's out-of-the-way spots that I'm launching here, doesn't cover any of those topics. Rather, I focus on places that I'd never heard of until one recent day when, after consulting Google Maps, I took a drive and did some hiking through the quaint former farming town.

Google Maps has become my go-to tool for Backside adventures. This time, I focused on the area about 15 miles northwest of where I live. I scanned the map and almost immediately "Old Rifle Range" popped out at me.

That was all I needed to see.

I found the site without too much trouble, and began hiking in. I wasn't sure exactly what I would find, but the map at the beginning of the trail indicated that there were four "targets" along the trail.

I didn't know exactly what I was looking for, however, so when I saw a few shallow areas that looked a bit like foxholes, I somehow thought that's all I was going to get. But before too long I came across the first cement berm, and I got excited.

Rifle range berm #2

There are metal spikes driven into the berm. I don't know anything about guns or firing ranges, so I'm not sure what the spikes did. After a short hike up the path, I found the second berm, which had hardware positioned in front.

Rifle range gear #2

I presume these racks held targets, and that the gears moved the targets forward and back. I learned after doing some research online that the range dates to World War I. The Army used it to train troops from distances of 200, 300, 600 and 1,000 yards.

The last target area was the most distinctive for a few reasons. First, there was graffiti on the wall.

Rifle range graffiti

Second, a tree had grown up and around a piece of the old hardware, making for a very, shall I say intimate, arrangement.

Together forever

In the next three parts I'll post about abandoned railroad tracks, a restored water tower at a defunct farming site, and some rusty vehicles near a farm with my family's name on it.

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