Recreation On The River
Recreation on the Nemasket River consisted of swimming and boating. The places to swim were identified by the person who owned the property: Frost's Landing, Waterman's Landing, Packard's, Bump's, Ludden's, and others. No fees were charged, there were no clothes changing facilities, people went for a swim when they felt like it. Several areas had slowly sloping shores acting like beach areas. The swimming holes were usually where the water was deepest. The river banks were high and used for jumping into the river. There were a couple of deaths involving the river. In the 1870's or 80's a boy drowned while swimming with a friend near Waterman's Landing. Another drowning was mentioned in 1905. A six year old boy fell from the "Ocean House" window across the street from the electric light plant, hit his head on a stone wall, and fell unconscious into the river and drowned. Although the building was finally condemned in 1908, it wasn't torn down until 1910.
Boating on the river consisted mainly of rowboats and canoes. Even this size craft would just barely fit on the river in places today due to the growth of weeds into the channel from the rivers edge. The original width of the river however, is still visible. Before overgrowth of the weeds, the relaxation of boating was very popular. There were boat houses at the East Grove Street Bridge used primarily for storing canoes. The canoe was paddled in between two platforms used for disembarking from the canoe. The individual would lift the canoe out of the water, turn it up-side-down and store it on one of the racks attached to the inside walls. Space was at a premium so a rental fee of $15 a year was charged. Boating in the late 1800's and early 1900's was truly a social affair. One often met friends on the river and passed the time chatting.