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Old 01-07-2011, 02:30 PM
3 posts, read 32,967 times
Reputation: 22


I drop by these forums every day, for at least the past year. Guess I am a lurker no more. I have read tons of posts, some from years ago and all the recent ones. The things I have read regarding Berlin have become alarming to say the least. I realize that you all have an opinion, but when all of them are the same, even when some can hardly agree on anything, It makes me think twice.

We may end up moving there, as my husband works in corrections and quite frankly I am worried about the move. We have a youngster, who will be starting first grade this next fall. I stay at home while she is small and had considered taking cooking classes at wmcc.

We had intended to buy a small house in town to begin with, and then purchase a property out of town and build our own place. Where we have been looking is still in the berlin tax base, which is terrible, but the price of a larger tract of land is reasonable.

I have begun to have this gnawing feeling in my gut though that this may be the wrong move for us, based on everything I have read. I look over the Berlin daily sun a lot to try and keep up with local news, and there never seems to be anything happening.

But every post I have read makes me feel like we would be walking into a slum. Is there nothing good about this place? Are we making a complete mistake considering here?

I just read today that the school system is asking for 1 million in extra funding this year for, from what I read, admin or salaries along those lines, and yet threated to cut funding for student programs if they don't get it, cut the admin salary if that is where the problem lies, and leave the kids programs out of it. The real issue is that property taxes cannot support it. They are already at 30/1000 and it is a breaking point for property owners. People are not going to keep their properties up for fear of a higher assessment. People are not going to move here with those kinds of rates and build or rehab, in fact it just encourages more people to leave. So the town starts to slum and it gets worse, as the tax base gets smaller funding goes down, so rates get increased. It is a neverending cycle. I like to keep my place nice, yes, its pride, with fresh paint, flowers, and even the white picket fence and quite frankly I feel that the reason the properties are so run down is because of this. Fear of the added assessment just for having a little pride. I don't care how poor you are, there is no excuse for not being neat and tidy, that comes from my depression surviving grandma.

I fully understand that most places where prisons are built are not that desirable, it is just the way it is. It will also bring a new class of riffraff to a town, maybe a little less here just because of this particular location, the cold, and lack of social services but cheap rent may make up for it, people want to be near their perps if possible. It may not lower the unemployment of a place as much as you would think when families start coming here looking for work, just to be near their inmates. Uggh, enough rambling. Nobody wants to hear that stuff anyway. Its not the shiny side of the coin.

But seriously, if you had to move here for your career, with a young child, would you?

I am not sure if, in this line of work, it is possible not to have to trade off a few things, usually location is one of them. Don't get me wrong, some of the other small towns here, sound ideal, but that isn't where work would be, gotta take the bad lumps with the good ones. We have other options, but I am not sure that they would be any better than here as far as location goes.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:59 AM
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Berlin has one kind of work about now the prison. The mills were torn down, the middle of the city is bare naked wide open for it. The place is as run down looking as it gets after a WW-2 vintage bombing attack.

The mills evidently were in such bad shape that to save the structures themselves wasn't done. Many old mill towns still have the old mills made over into more modern things, but not Berlin. All, every last one is gone and IMO it looks like Berlin Germany after the war.

Berlin NH was never a pretty town to start with, so far as I know. It was at it's best in the middle 60's when it was the shopping center for the North Country, but now most of that is a few hangers on with no place else to go. A great deal of what is left is old tenament building made for paper mill workers to live in, once heated by steam from the mills. Under the roads is miles of steam pipes I don't belive to be in use at this point.

Once in winter steam rose from the streets themselves, and in places you didn't need to plow since the steam melted the roads off in the city from leaks in the pipes. In the later 70's that effect made the place look like hell!

Dying factory with broken windows, falling down buildings and steam rising from the street was what it was.

There are out of work mill men still there, getting by as best they can doing what ever they can to get by. If you are under 35 you stand a chance of getting a job at the prision, if you are older than that then you stand 0 chance. Evidently the age discrimination act from the Feds is in violation by the very feds. 35 or less and that's it.

IMO anyone wanting to move there to raise a family would have to be out of their bloomin mind.

Maybe if you have so much wealth that you can build a shopping mall and then give away more money to get people to come buy stuff that could work, other wise untill the economy picks up enough to rebuild Berlin from scratch the place is a dead and beaten ghost town.

Go see.......

Then I fear there are so much toxins in the ground from over 150 years chemical waste, that the place will be toxic for the next 2000 years.

In the 50's the water below Belin ran bright orange. I can't think of another more depressing place to be.
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:29 AM
Location: Vermont
3,419 posts, read 9,433,688 times
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I wouldn't recommend Berlin either. Yuck.
What about commuting to Berlin? Gorham is nicer and Lancaster is nice as well (though a bit further).
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:21 PM
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I agree with the previous replies and would not recommend raising a family in berlin proper. However if your husband is not averse to a moderate commute the great north woods can be a great place to raise a family. Note that he will need a four wheel drive vehicle.

Jefferson, whitefield, lancaster and carrol may be options but this is rural living. Expect to drive to littleton for most of your shopping - there are large grocery stores, home improvement stores, national restaurants and a walmart in littleton. Also the winter is long in that part of the state; I would recommend making every effort to pick up an outdoor winter hobby or you will be miserable. Skiing, ice skating, hockey, snow machining, etc are common. If you can get into skiing there are several excellent mountains in the vacinity: cannon, bretton woods, wildcat and sunday river among others
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:04 PM
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I really appreciate the input, the history is fascinating Mac, thank you for that. We aren't really interested in living in town, never have been much. It would just be for a bit to get our foot in the door. We like the country life very much, keep to ourselves, respect our neighbors and hope for that in return. We love the outdoors very much and 4x4s are the norm for us anyways. To us, town is where you pick up the necessities you can't have shipped in via amazon and ups. I do ski, and we have had our share of off roading and a great love of the outdoors in general.

I have been keeping an eye on gorham and milan, and the surrounding areas, but most of the land tracts are of tiny parcels. We are looking for a tract of at least fifty, for self suffiency purposes. Room for firewood harvesting, critters, our own trails, spots for beekeeping and such.

Mac, is the groundwater of the entire area contaminated? we would be putting in a deep well if building a home, but unclean water may be a dealbreaker.
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:50 PM
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You can go north of Berlin and be fine, just fine but it is rather remote up that way. After Erroll thar's nuthin but moose.

South of Berlin and not much is Gorham if you want town.
between Hell and Gorham is a super wally world, several car dealers a place for buying logging clothing, real rugged clothing. Walley world is about it and does have foods 24/7.

Gorham has about 5 oriental eattery's but i doubt anyone would call them fine. Gorham is a little washed out, but quaint. It's a one hoss road town meaning it has one road pretty much. From there you have Rt 2, Rt 16 as the same road. Rt 2 runs east to Maine, west into and thru Vt. Rt 16 leads North into Maine and south to Mass. Rt 16 become the Spaulding in Rochester NH.

More or less in winter Rt 16 is a rugged place to be if say you are in Gorham and want to be in N Conway. It gets really wild in the notch on any storms. Thars a place on Rt 16 below the height of land called windy corner and they mean it. It can blow there so hard that if a car were parked there is a good chance it would still be moving if the roads were in snow and ice.

More or less that means for shopping if walley world doesn't have what you want yer headed to Littleton, and that is a fair distance unto itself from Gorham.

I think you or someone I have you confused with asked these questions not too long ago. All I want to know is where roughly you are are now. Knowing a state helps a lot sometimes for me to see pieces of a missing image.

I guess I broke a finger Dec 31st since the bloomin thing refuses to get well, and since I deal in heavy cold metal fabrication I am doing my best to burn up some web band these days, so I got the time.

There is a lot better places to be than any place near Berlin. The more north you go the more trapped it gets. From Errol there is a road to Maine 2 ways, and one west passing ther Balsums. The Balsums is a great fancy afair, looks like a castle in Where Eagles Dare, and that road has nothing else besides moose all the way to Colebrook.

Colebrook may be up and coming, a little at a time. In Cole brook you get a chance to drive back to Errol and a chance to go south to Littleton, or you can go right past the lakes and be in Canada.

Most everything above the Rt 2 line is rugged north country, where you better be preped and accustomed to hard long winter. That place could drive some people nuts over a locked up tight winter. NH has several kinds and places of weathers all in the same day. The higher up you get the longer it's cold. Once I lived dead center in the volcanic ossippes and was up 3 weeks later than down below come spring. I still had snow when everyone else was tilling a garden.

from Whitefield going down Rt 302 there is several different snow bands. I am not sure anyone who hasn't lived here can see it fast, but I have lived here a long time and I see a difference driving as if the snow bands were stairs. The way it is in whitefield on a storm will not be the same as to half way to Crawfords Notch, and again at the top of the notch it is not the same as 1/2 way down and again at the botton is different and gain in Bartlett it is different again.

I love that north country I am a product of it, but I always hated the city of Berlin for the ugly it was and the worse ugly it is. It's a flaw on the face of NH. Factory town gone bad to worse.

It's the Androscogiin River there and I suspect for a ong ways down that river the muck bottom contains some real nasty stuff, like to capsize in a canoe will likely make that person very ill today and perhaps loose his hair. And that's for a 2 minute stay in that water.

I have never swam in it below Berlin. I have swam in it above Berlin, fished and eatten the fish, kayaked and canoed, but never below, and don't plan to ever all the way to the sea. What ever was dumped in that river to turn it orange is still there buried and waiting in the muck bottom.

The water looks ok now, but sooner or later ya gotta walk if you swim any and there is no way I am touching that muck bottom even if it's sand and so clear I can see the bottom in 20 feet of water. There is plenty of absolutley chrystal clear waters to swim in else where. You can hunt trout with your eyes and catch the ones you select elsewhere. I fish that way. I SEE the trout I want and pop a fly in over his head. Bam the trout takes my fly and I have that food.

But not lower than Berlin. The Pemmi River is the same river as the Merrimac. I don;t know how that happened, but in the town of Franklin is where the names change. I wouldn't eat a fish south of Franklin either and that river is probably cleaner from Franklin down. From before 1880 a lot of junk went in all rivers in New England, but in and around 1880 a lot more chems went in our rivers in the name of fast money, with the notion it will never come back to bite us.

At one point all of these rivers were the highweays thru the woods, and for 10,000 years or so they were used that way, from paleo man till the late mid 20th century.

I can recall the last of the log river drives from memory as a wee lad, and I still have my grand dad's peavy, and pole. I used to have his caulked boots but time caught up with those and they are trashed long ago. I am 59........ The upper Androsoggin is still filled with dead heads. Turn on the History channel to the logging shows and see the river loggers getting back what man lost. The same thing is everywhere under the waters of that river above Berlin, into the Magaloway and reaches into Maine, from at least moosehead lake and south. Every single water way there was at one time a road thru wildeness and a way to get logs for profit out.

The least damage was above Berlin. The most is just below the Berlin Dam to Gorham.
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:57 PM
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That was kinda long.. If you get up here and feel you can deal with strangers any let me know. I can only be a stranger once I think. Moving here means your gonna meet some anyway right?

Maybe on a map or weather permitting you can chase me n' my wife on my motorcycle and i can point out ancient lake beds where paleo man once lived, where a ice dam broke up and release a flood of water now that lake bed. And prove that for 10,000 years this place lived with man.

I can't spell it, but lk Azzhooksihoss is really just the upper malgaloway river and in it are paloe sites. That lake is fully in Maine, but the waters are all related.

You might buy a copy of caulked heels and spiked boots, no longer in print, but buyable used.
Somehwere once I had one, but it might be gone now.

Last edited by Mac_Muz; 01-09-2011 at 03:42 PM..
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:48 AM
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,478 posts, read 55,423,692 times
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Mac is accurate but obviously does not work for the Berlin Chamber of Commerce. Those were sulfite process paper mills and the town smelled as bad as it looked. I wonder of the dam still has a hydro electric generator.
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:58 AM
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I should say not. I have been ill from that stench hiking in my nawthern Residentials more than once. Right up there on King's ravine around 5,000ft and in a inversion in dead winter where that STINK was sum wicket bad Mista'. I mean down on my knees and doin you know what. I considered taking one more step, which would lowered my altitude about 1,500ft in a second.

Tearing that mess down is one step from taking that place back from Hell. It will likely be the 23rd century before it is either reclaimed by the forest or fixed up enough to allow man to live.

That ain't overly passionate or anything huh?
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Old 01-14-2011, 12:03 PM
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,478 posts, read 55,423,692 times
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The river was orange from the pollution eh? I wonder what that was? If it was Iron compounds they were lucky. If Chromium not so lucky.
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