Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Third Avenue Dip

The Third Avenue Dip links Newton Park with Mangold Park. Before the building of the William Moffett Expressway , it was the only access across this portion of the Baaken’s River to Walmer, Lorraine and Mangold Park.

Main picture: An overflowing Baakens River at Third Avenue, Newton Park, normally a trickle has swollen into a raging torrent

Essentially the Third Avenue Dip was a shortcut between two parts of the town separated by a deep valley. Built in 1957, despite the construction of a major arterial road,  it remains popular as a short cut.

As the bridge is only low-level, it is prone to flooding. it is always hazardous especially after heavy rains as the river would inevitably flood. As it was for most of its life unlit, unwary and drunk motorists would have a rude awaking as their vehicle ploughed into the water streaming over the low-level bridge.

Whenever there were heavy downpours, all the children in Newton Park would flock to view the vehicles stuck in the water. Nevertheless brave souls would still attempt to navigate across the swollen river, not always successfully.

For the more adventurous kids, many of the boys would attempt to cycle the length of the road from hilltop to hilltop, pedalling at full speed. Not only was it treacherous because the surface was uneven, but one had to contend with oncoming vehicles which crossed the middle white line.

Monument to David Baillie Lovemore at the Third Avenue ‘Dip’

Stop at the low water bridge and you will spot a plaque in memory of David Baillie Lovemore, who pioneered this road.

The 7,5 kilometer Lower Guinea Fowl Trail stretches from the 3rd Avenue Dip to Settlers Park

Recollections of Mrs Enid Lovemore on the origins of the road

David Lovemore

In the early 1950’s when my husband, David Lovemore, was living at Heatherbank, he used to do his business in Newton Park and at North End. The only way to get there was either along Circular Drive and Kragga Kamma Road, through Sunridge Park and onto the old Cape Road or alternatively through Walmer.  One day he decided to see whether he could negotiate the dip in a vehicle as donkey carts used to go through there. Amazingly he found that he could make it! After using this route for quite a while he decided to visit Mr Herbert Hurd to enquire from him whether would be prepared to let him build a road through the valley as Mr Hurd was developing Mangold Park opposite Newton Park. David convinced him that he was far more likely to sell plots if there was a road through the valley. Mr Hurd saw the light and gave Savage & Lovemore the contract  to build the original gravel road. Needless to say Mr Hurd sold plots like hot cakes!”

“That is the reason why I had that bench erected near the Fig Tree on the Guinea fowl trail. I always felt that David did not receive the credit he deserved for the 3rd Ave Dip”.

David Lovemore

Guinea Fowl Trail

From this same dip in the road begins the Guinea Fowl Trail, a local walk through the Baakens Valley, a wonderful greenbelt along which you should manage a glimpse of local wildlife (rock rabbits, francolin, hares or tortoises) and indigenous bush. For security reasons, it is preferable to traverse it in fairly large groups.

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