Highlighting Manchester

Derryfield Park

400 Bridge Street
Manchester, NH 03104

As a part of AARP's 60th Anniversary, AARP launched an ambitious effort in 2019 to create 53 fitness parks – one each in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These AARP Sponsored Outdoor Fitness Parks Organized by FitLot are designed for adaptive use by people with a wide range of abilities and exercise needs.

Derryfield Park is a large 76 acre park located on Bridge Street on the east side of Manchester. In the 1700's and early 1800's, Derry claimed some land in other towns, which included Derryfield Park in Manchester. Being known as a primarily agricultural town, Derry most likely used this spacious plot of land as a pasture for cows. However, in the early 1800's, Derry gradually lost some of its land claims when it officially separated into two towns, Derry and Londonderry, in 1827. Since the separation, the land has been claimed as a part of Manchester, and has always remained a popular recreational area. It was a destination for families and people of all ages, and still holds as a significant park in Manchester today.

Hidden in the park behind the fields and just a short walk away is the Weston Observatory, which has been sanctioned as a part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The Weston Observatory was named after James A. Weston, who left the city $5,000 to build this observatory for the enjoyment and benefit of the people in Manchester after formerly being mayor. The observatory was built in 1896 to 1897 and quickly became a destination of interest at the end of the Bridge Street trolley line. It was used as a picnic and lookout area for families primarily, but during World War II it was used as a spotting post. Damages following the war led to its restoration in 1977, and since then the tower has been locked, but people can still visit and see the 66-foot tall observatory today.

Presently, Derryfield Park is known for its trails, fields, and its new playground. It is home to one of the more challenging cross country courses in New England, and hosts cross country meets annually. It also has many sports fields used by multiple teams: Trinity's home fields are located at Derryfield Park, as these fields are also used by slow pitch softball teams, a Pony baseball league, and East Cobras football league. Additionally, there are tennis courts and a couple of short walking trails through the woods. Derryfield Park has something to provide for people of all ages, proving it to be one of the more popular parks in Manchester today.

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