The Cutting Place – Simpson Road, Windham
Last week I identified this beautiful farm as the “Cutting Place” on Range Road in Windham. Your intrepid editor at the Windham Independent, Jon Carpenter, kindly corrected my mistaken identification of the road as Range Road. You see, the road that Mrs. Cutting and the boys are walking on could not be Range Road, because it did not exist in this location in the 1880’s. At that time the road that ran by here was actually Simpson Road. It ran from Cobbett’s Pond Road all the way to Simpson’s Mill, on Simpson Pond, which is now known as Moeckel Pond. I love learning new things, (that’s why I used to sit in the back of the classroom, in fifth grade, while the teacher droned on about something, reading the encyclopedia Britannica.) So, there was no Range Road at this location at the time of the photograph. On the 1892 map of Windham you can see Simpson Road, running from Cobbett’s Pond Road, further west than the current 111A and then making a sharp turn to the South toward Simpson Pond and mill.
In early Windham history this section of Windham with it’s schoolhouse was known as “the Dock,” for reasons I have not been able to ascertain. Jon Carpenter’s family came to Windham in 1953 and Simpson Road was still in use to be later replaced by a new Range Road built by the state of New Hampshire. It seems that prior to this, Range Road continued along what is now Cobbett’s Pond Road today. This is why Cobbett’s Pond Road is still maintained by the State of New Hampshire.
At the 1962 town meeting, in a rare and unusual secret ballot, Simpson Road was closed to gates and bars, costing the land owners with frontage a ton of money. One of those who lost out was Bob Thorndike, who ironically was a Selectman. He and the Sullivan’s, who owned the farm in the photograph, went to court and sued the town over the road closing. They lost the case, then appealed and lost again. Sadly, there was also an old Cranberry bog, near Golden Brook Road, lost to the construction. Thanks to Jon for all of the information about this area of Windham!