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Haverhill

July 8, 2009

Haverhill's new welcome signs boast of local celebrities

What's in a name? Plenty for Haverhill

HAVERHILL — You are probably familiar with the names of celebrities from Haverhill such as TV personality Tom Bergeron, Major League Baseball player Carlos Pena, horror film director Rob Zombie, and Colonial heroine Hannah Duston.

But do you recognize the name Sharon Poole?

In 1971 she created a local uproar and gained national attention when she crossed the gender barrier by playing on an all-boys youth baseball team in Haverhill. Parents complained and the league's leaders decided she must quit. Locals believe she is the first girl nationwide to play on a boys baseball team.

Haverhill is the "Birthplace of Sharon Poole: 1st Female Little Leaguer" reads the welcome sign on Lincoln Avenue a quarter-mile from the Groveland Bridge.

Other welcome signs placed strategically on the city's outskirts now boast of Haverhill's connections to Bergeron, Pena, Zombie and Hannah Duston.

The large welcome signs that were installed around 15 years ago have been enhanced over the years to include smaller signs attached to them. Until recently, they featured the names of notable people from Haverhill, such as poet John Greenleaf Whittier. A reference to Haverhill High School's state championship girls basketball teams of the 1990s had adorned one sign as well.

Now, the new crop of local notables has taken over.

It was time to update the signs, said Pentucket and Haverhill Kiwanis Club member Peter Carbone.

"We wanted to change the sayings to something more contemporary," he said.

For the most part it's in with the new, including Bergeron, host of the popular TV show "Dancing with the Stars."

The Haverhill Kiwanis Club and its vice president, David Arel, led the changes in partnership with the Pentucket Kiwanis Club. Joining the effort were the Haverhill Exchange, Haverhill Lions, Haverhill Rotary and the Soroptimist Club of Haverhill.

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