Owned By: Duxbury Rural & Historical Society
A small open area with a stream running through it. Located at the intersection of Union and Congress Streets.
The Ashdod Triangle, acquired in 1908, was one of the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society’s earliest purchases. An important intersection for those traveling between Pembroke and Duxbury, it was initially acquired to preserve trees planted there (they are gone now).
Ashdod is the neighborhood name for this section of West Duxbury. It appealed to early settlers because its open meadows — bordered by Keene’s Brook, Philips Brook, and the South River — were excellent farmland. Later, mills were established on the streams.
In the 1730s, Reuben Peterson (1710-1795) dammed Phillips Brook to power a sawmill, creating this Peterson’s Sawmill Pond, just down the road on Congress Street. The dam is right underneath today’s Congress Street (Route 14). (Look behind the Ashdod fire station to see the mill’s foundation stones.) In her book, Settlement and Growth of Duxbury 1628-1870, Dorothy Wentworth describes it as “the usual up and down type mill.” It ran for many years, but like Howlands Mill upstream, suffered from insufficient water supply.
According to Wentworth, an agreement in the Town Records of 1772 says, in part, “Reuben Peterson will pay Consider Smith a shilling a year for the privilege of maintaining a ditch across the Simmons land through which to bring an additional supply of water from a stream draining out of Black Friar Swamp. That ditch is right here at the Ashdod Triangle!
Prior to European contact, the Mattakeeset band of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe lived for thousands of years in the North River watershed. Their village included most of today’s Pembroke and Hanson as well as parts of Duxbury. Meanwhile the Patuxet band of the Wampanoag tribe inhabited the Jones River watershed, and the area now known as Kingston, Plymouth and Duxbury. This property lies within the upper portion of the South River watershed — right between those two territories. It’s possible that both tribes utilized the area.
Open area; no trails.
Habitats and Wildlife
The stream (actually a 200-year-old manmade ditch) that runs through the triangle has historic significance and can be a fun place to explore.
Two South River tributaries are nearby. Keene’s Brook is to the northwest, and Phillips Brook is to the east. Phillips Brook flows through Peterson’s Sawmill Pond and continues northeast into the Camp Wing Conservation Area, where it joins the South River. Keene’s Brook flows into the South River just north of Temple Street.
The South River is a major tributary to the North River. It remains a narrow and mostly un-navigable stream until it enters Chandler Pond in Marshfield. From there it flows through Marshfield Center, winding through salt marshes all the way to Rexhame. Turning northward, it then flows for 3 miles between Humarock and the mainland to Fourth Cliff, where it joins the North River at its outlet to the sea.
Historic Site: Yes
Boat Launch: No
Size: 0.25 acre
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited roadside parking.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash or under control at all times. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Keene's Brook and Phillips Brook (South River watershed)