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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Smoke Rise Memories: Jim Rohrer

722 Ridge Road, Smoke Rise
In response to the Didja Know? The First Home in Smoke Rise, former Smoke Rise resident Jim Rohrer sent me an email with Smoke Rise memories. With his permission, I share it with you here.

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Was [the first home in Smoke Rise] just up from the beach entrance? (Timothy house?) Or was it the one further up the hill? (a cute stone Cape style?)

I recently returned to Smoke Rise to visit and saw the scaffolding all around the Tower.  What's going on there? Looks like they intend to replace some of the granite squares that were pushed off.

I remember climbing the Tower many times with friends Herb Fisher, Phil Kline, Russ Sacco and others. (We never pushed any of the stones off. That happened before we ever got up there.) This was probably around 1963 give or take a couple of years.

As Herb Fisher mentioned before, climbing the Tower was quite adventurous (and DANGEROUS). We would lift one of us to the ledge of the lowest window and that person would pull himself up to the window and help the next one up. Once inside we would walk up the side railings going sideways. The stairs couldn't be trusted. They were rusted and most were missing. Once we got to the top we were always amazed at the view. The risk was worth the reward. We would stay up there for hours.

Obviously we never mentioned any of this to our parents.

I grew up at 722 Ridge Road. We were the first family to build and live on Ridge Road. My parents (Mildred & Harry Rohrer) started construction in 1955 and we moved in Oct. of 1956. ( Side note: the bus stop for all children who lived on Mountain Rd and Ridge Rd was all the way down the mountain at the intersection of Gravel Hill and Green Hill. The buses wouldn't go up the mountain. Especially in the winter.There was a big green wooden bus shelter there. Many other bus shelters were placed around various sites in Smoke Rise back then.)

Hilltop Rd. was just a wagon road in the woods right next to our house. It was made by ore miners and loggers from earlier days. We used to hike and hunt back there and often found remnants of old mine sites (pits) and rusted equipment. These wagon roads would lead all the back to Charlottesburg and Split Rock Reservoirs.

Those hikes are still very vivid in my memory. We would leave at sun up and return sometimes after dark.

It was a sad day for us when the developers started the Hilltop Rd phase of Smoke Rise expansion.

We were very fortunate to have been able to grow up in such a wonderful place in the 50s and 60s . My parents sold our home in 1969. Little did I know that I would return ten years later, buying one of the older homes in Smoke Rise (31 Green Hill - the Joseph Smith house built in 1951) and raising our three daughters there for 25 wonderful years. We have been gone for the past 7 years but Smoke Rise lives on in our memories and will forever.

I will look for pictures and try to retrieve them from my older siblings.

Most of my memories are about outdoor adventures, summer planned activities, group trips to the Shore, evening movies at the beach, camping at New Pond, and " Nude Rock", baseball at the field, BIG horse shows, swim meets, hockey games on Hoot Owl, sleigh riding down Brook Valley road (now Echo Valley). They actually closed the top half during the winter. I can go on and on and I will at a later date.

Thanks for jogging my memory of days past in Smoke Rise. I really enjoy your blog.

Jim Rohrer
New Hampshire
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Thanks, Jim, for sharing these Smoke Rise memories. I look forward to more stories and photos from you and your brothers!

NOTE: several readers have asked about the location of the first Smoke Rise Home. I am researching the matter and will report back [Tom - I need your help!]

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