It’s the freshwater ‘Jailhouse Spring’ that we hear residents talk about. We knew the general area but not the exact spot on the map until we learned about a new neighborhood development proposed for that area. The proposal for the development is almost 50 acres of land and 39 houses on a hill above the Squamscott River. The road into the new neighborhood would take you past the bubbling spring where we heard there are usually a line of cars waiting to fill jugs.
We found the way to the spring on an unmarked road that crossed over a 3-way intersection in a quiet neighborhood. On this cold morning there were several cars in line patiently waiting their turn to provide drinking water for their families.
The spring is named for the jailhouse, now gone, that was built here in the mid-1800’s. It provided water to the inmates and local residents alike. At one time there was a nice spring house but now it’s a small pump that goes off and on, pumping cold water into a depression in the ground. I spoke with one man from another town who came once a week to fill jugs. He said the land is owned by the home on the hill and they test the water to make sure it’s safe to drink, adding that he has children and this clean water is what he provides for them.
The surrounding neighborhood has organized a group to oppose the proposed new development, citing waste contaminants from long-gone farming activities including lead, coal ash, and more on the land, would be hazardous to remove. Trucks with the waste must exit through the small roads in the neighborhood creating risks for residents and contaminating the freshwater spring. Arguments against also site the added traffic on the small neighborhood roads and clearance for emergency vehicles. All of it is in the planning stages so we will watch for future reports on the proposed development in our newly adopted Exeter NH community…. and we are happy to have found the bubbling spring!