Granite is abundant along the trails throughout Clifford Park and there was once a granite quarry in the park. The Biddeford Historical Society will offer a free fireside chat Friday evening at the Biddeford Meeting House about the history of Clifford Park. ED PIERCE/Journal Tribune

Granite is abundant along the trails throughout Clifford Park and there was once a granite quarry in the park. The Biddeford Historical Society will offer a free fireside chat Friday evening at the Biddeford Meeting House about the history of Clifford Park. ED PIERCE/Journal Tribune

BIDDEFORD — In our fast-paced age of 24-hour news cycles and ever-changing world, it’s important to remember that while it’s true we don’t live in the past, some of our past stays with us our entire life.

In Biddeford’s case, Clifford Park is a daily reminder that those who came before us had the good sense to preserve the natural beauty and splendor of this 140-acre scenic treasure for future generations.

On Friday night, the Biddeford Historical Society will offer a fireside chat for the public looking at the history and little-known facts about Clifford Park. The presentation starts at 7 p.m. at the Biddeford Meeting House on Meeting House Road.

“To many of us, we confuse Clifford Park with a little strip of land on Pool Roadf that is the home of a tennis and basketball court,” said Denis Letellier, Biddeford Historical Society president. “This is only a tiny bit of its majesty.”

Letellier said that the sprawling park contains bubbling brooks, pristine forests, a waterfall, a cemetery used by early Biddeford settlers and an abandoned granite quarry.

“Walking the trails, you are surrounded by 200-year-old trees, poplars, elms, and oaks, and wild blueberry and huckleberry bushes,” he said. “Venturing further on the trails, you can stand on the highest point in Biddeford and have a glimpse of the ocean.”

According to Letellier, the reason Clifford Park’s trails are so wide is because they were used as pathways through which granite was hauled to Decary Road and put on schooners sailing south.

“These schooners brought the granite that made the Lincoln Memorial and the Brooklyn Bridge,” he said.

Clifford Park has been a favorite picnic spot for Biddeford families for more decades and a great spot for concerts and listening to live music after World War II.

“So who were the men and women who gave us the 100-plus acres of this valuable land to the city of Biddeford,” Letellier said. “What compelled them to think of future generations?”

Leading the fireside chat discussion Friday night will be Dana Peck, a local entrepreneur and a Biddeford native.

“We will find out who gifted the land to the land and why they did it,” Letellier said. “We will discover our Biddfeord forefathers who mined the quarry for beautiful granite that was sent across the country. We will learn about the picnics and the bands who played in these forests to the delight of local families. And we will discover the Jordan cemetery and learn about who Revereand Jordan was and his impact upon Maine.”

Light refreshments will be served and dessert will be provided for fireside chat participants.

There also will be a special granite-cutting demonstration to show how granite was extracted from the Clifford Park quarry.    

Admission is free, but donations will be appreciated.

For more information, call 468-9305. 

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 ext. 326 or by email at [email protected] 

           


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