Location: North River Road
Historic Stark Park is named in honor of New Hampshire's hero, General John Stark. John Stark's fighting spirit gave words to New Hampshire's state motto in 1809: "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils." Stark Park also pays tribute to a present-day New Hampshire hero with a memorial bench in honor of Officer Michael L. Briggs.
Stark Park is built on land once part of the Stark family farm and the final resting place of John Stark, his wife, and several of their children – one can still visit the headstones today. In 1896, the plot of land was expanded to 30 acres and became a neighborhood park and a historic treasure. In addition to the burial plot, there is a large equestrian statue of the General (dedicated in 1948) and several models of cannons and cannonballs. A gazebo-style Hecker-Hastings Bandstand was built in 2009, where local bands perform concerts year-round, and the public may rent for private events.
The western lower 15 acres of Stark Park consists of the "Walk in the Woods" trail network for walking (with or without your dog), jogging, cross-country skiing/shoe shoeing, and mountain bike riding. Along the trail, stop to enjoy "Molly Stark's- Wildwoods," an outdoor nature playspace for children behind the Stark Farm Community Garden that includes the artistic work of Tom LeComte from Laurel Hill Studio.
In 2004, a group of concerned citizens founded the Friends of Stark Park (FSP), a Section 501 (c) (3) organization whose mission is to develop, revitalize, maintain, and protect the heritage and recreational use of Stark Park as a historic asset of the City of Manchester, New Hampshire. For more information regarding restoring Stark Park to its former glory and volunteer opportunities, visit https://www.starkpark.com/home.
For directions, click here.