Canoe Tree Springs

My first recollection of spring water was on Keene’s Pond in the winter ,sliding on my belly up to a spring hole in the ice. The water was cold, clear and drinkable. There were many of these springs in the shallow end of the pond. Most were dangerous because of the thin ice.

A spring hole through the ice.

Springs could be found through-out the wooded area behind the pond. There was a large spring west of Little’s Cemetery, this spring grew a great crop of watercress, not a favorite of mine, but collected by a few neighbors for mixing into a salad.
As I wandered further from home, every stream I encountered, drew me to its source, I would trampalong its banks through brush and bull-briars, until I came to a spring bubbling up into a small pool, these were the days when contamination was not even considered and a drink mandatory.
My early explorations were around Seagar’s Hill, now Deer Hill, The Highlands, Carolina Hill, Holly Hill, Ferry Hill and on my way to Pine Island all provided cold, clear drinkable water for this  young wanderer.

I was aware of spring water in big jug’s up-side-down in a rack at Clark’s store and Stedman’s, a penny for a cup and you could help yourself by putting the cup under the spout, pushing the button, the watching a big air  bubble up in the jug!, that was worth a penny!
Most of this water was supplied by a spring water company from Marshfield Hills.
Harry H. Rogers owned the many springs off Pleasant and Canoe Tree Streets. He developed a network of sluice-ways directing water to collection points that fill those big water bottles.                                        

Getting water from there to here.

A  five gallon carboy and wood  crate container.

Harry lived in a big colonial house at the corner of Highland and Main St., now Old Main St. He kept his delivery trucks there.

I remember two or three Ford model T’s and one Ford model A pickup. These were rigged to carry the bottles inside of their wood crates safely.


I can remember his truck coming down Summer St. past my house. In the early forties, I knew every car by their sound and how they were driven.
If a car came along Summer St. and up the hill after Pleasant St., it was harder to hear it coming, however, if it came from Pleasant St., It had to stop, turn right and make shifts up the hill, a great give-away as to who they were, and what they were driving.
Well, Harry Rogers trucks were loaded down with water jugs and would have to climb the hill in first or second gear, then they would crest the hill then coast down Summer St. with hardly a sound  on their way to Steads or Clarks. About an hour later, the truck would labor back up Summer St. to Station St. and stop at Charlie Langille’s to make a delivery. That was my chance to circle around the truck and take it all in. When the driver returned, I gave a ”Hi”, the response was ”Lo”, then nothing and away he drove, I have no idea if he was Mr. Rogers or not, just not  a very friendly person.
Some time later, on our way back from the Pine St. dump, I persuaded my Dad to drive into the back way off Canoe Tree St., to Canoe Tree Springs. The cart path was pretty wet and juicy, so Dad would only drive a short distance into the pit adjoining the springs. We walked a short distance and I couldn’t believe the network of troughs diverting water bubbling out of the hillside. There were bottle crates stacked everywhere.
A thanks for this recent find by Bob Maynard, Marshfield hills.


Bottles lined up on tables, funnels and gear of sorts laying around rusting away. There was water everywhere. The road way was rutted a foot deep in mud, I don’t know how a truck could get through. The maze of waterways overwhelmed me, I had never seen anything like it!
This operation must have been near the end of operating, due to it’s run down condition, c. 1942,3.

This painting  not accurate as to the layout or it’s contents , It’s as I remember The Canoe Tree Spring Water Co.

I don’t remember Mr. Rogers Spring Water Company after WW2, nor did I ever Return to the Springs. Rugani ave. was built off Pleasant St., and subsequently another development built.  The clear water from these  springs, that so many enjoyed, have disappeared.


”Water is the driving force of all nature”     Leonardo de Vinci.

W. Ray Freden. Seaview, Marshfield, 70 years.




3 Replies to “Canoe Tree Springs”

  1. Lucky to have been a young lad growing up exploring the wonders in your area. While we lived in the big city, we spent all summer at Orford Lake with lots of woods and mountains and lakes. This article brought back a few memories.


  2. As a child, I was told by my father, that the field across from Oxner’s Garage was the site of a trout farm that did not last long. It was begun to support fishing in Keene’s Pond for the then Rod & Gun Club. The tomb on the Ames property was also used to store prohibition liquor.

    This is all hearsay with no backup facts.
    Bill Frugoli

  3. I’m curious about the tomb on the Ames property. Is it off Pleasant st? There was a tomb that we used to play in and I have an interesting story about it, if that’s the same one.

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