YARMOUTH — Residents who enjoy the Royal River Park for its beauty, open space and walking path can now learn about the history of the river going back nearly 300 years.
Thanks to a gift from the Village Improvement Society and the help of the Yarmouth Historical Society, residents will be able to learn about the history of the river and the businesses located on its banks — the Forest Paper Company, poultry processing plant, tannery and shoe factory — from the six historical signs at Royal River Park and Grist Mill Park.
Linda Grant, chairwoman of the Historical Society and the chairwoman of the VIS preservation committee, said the six informational signs were donated to the town in honor of the VIS’s 100th anniversary.
“These signs show the history of the river, the businesses that thrived here from the 1700s to the 1990s, and the railroad and trolley activity that took place here during these years,” she said. “We feel it is important for people to understand how the river shaped this community. It is the reason people settled here, it has been used for power sources and is the location of many mills and businesses.”
The VIS was organized in 1911 as a way to protect and improve the appearance of the town. Over the years members have implemented numerous town clean-up efforts. They maintain Village Green Park at the railroad station and organize a spring clean-up there. The group also assumed responsibility for the maintenance of the Old Meeting House and purchased the railroad station from the Canadian National Railroad.
With the help of graphic designer Cay Kendrick, the signs were created using maps and information gathered by the Historical Society, Grant said. They are located along the mile pathway and are very sturdy, she said.
Barbara Parkhurst, president of the VIS, said it is fitting for the organization to donate the signs to the town since they have been working closely for the past 100 years.
“We are working with the town to help make this community a better place to live,” she said.
Phoebe Chandler, a past resident of Yarmouth, was walking through the park last week when she noticed the informational signs for the first time. She said they are an effective way to communicate and share the history of the park.
“I wasn’t aware of the extent of the businesses and buildings that were here before now,” Chandler said. “I lived here when this area was a pile of rubble and it is amazing to see how it’s developed over the years. This is fantastic work and I think it will be greatly appreciated.”
Linda Grant, chairwoman of the Yarmouth Historical Society and chairwoman of the Village Improvement Society’s Preservation Committee points out a few of the businesses that once lined the river. The six signs donated to the town from the VIS can be found along the path at the Royal River Park and at Grist Mill Park.
The Village Improvement Society donated six historical signs along the path at the Royal River Park and at Grist Mill Park in honor of the organization’s 100th anniversary. Barbara Parkhurst, president of the VIS, on left, and Linda Grant, chairwoman of the Yarmouth Historical Society stand by one of the informational signs near the bridge to the Beth Condon Pathway.