Dover, New Hampshire

Dover is a city in Strafford County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 29,987 at the 2010 census,[2] the largest in the New Hampshire Seacoast region. The population was estimated at 31,398 in 2017.[3] It is the county seat of Strafford County, and home to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, the Woodman Institute Museum, and the Children's Museum of New Hampshire.

Dover, New Hampshire
City Hall
City Hall
Official seal of Dover, New Hampshire

The Garrison City
Location within New Hampshire
Location within New Hampshire
Coordinates: 43°11′41″N 70°52′30″W / 43.19472°N 70.87500°WCoordinates: 43°11′41″N 70°52′30″W / 43.19472°N 70.87500°W
CountryUnited States
StateNew Hampshire
Incorporated1623 (town)
Incorporated1855 (city)
 • MayorKaren Weston
 • City Council
 • City ManagerMichael Joyal
 • Total29.0 sq mi (75.2 km2)
 • Land26.7 sq mi (69.2 km2)
 • Water2.3 sq mi (6.0 km2)  7.96%
50 ft (15 m)
 • Total29,987
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,175/sq mi (453.7/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s)603
FIPS code33-18820
GNIS feature ID0866618


First recorded in its Latinised form of Portus Dubris, the name derives from the Brythonic word for waters (dwfr in Middle Welsh). The same element is present in the town's French (Douvres) and Modern Welsh (Dofr) forms.



The first known European to explore the region was Martin Pring from Bristol, England, in 1603. In 1623, William and Edward Hilton settled Cochecho Plantation, adopting its Abenaki name, making Dover the oldest permanent settlement in New Hampshire, and seventh in the United States.[4] One of the colony's four original townships, it then included Durham, Madbury, Newington, Lee, Somersworth and Rollinsford.

The Hiltons' name survives at Hilton Park on Dover Point (which was originally known as Hilton Point), where the brothers settled near the confluence of the Bellamy and Piscataqua rivers. They were fishmongers sent from London by The Company of Laconia to establish a colony and fishery on the Piscataqua. In 1631, however, it contained only three houses. William Hilton built a salt works on the property (salt-making was the principal industry in his hometown of Northwich, England). He also served as Deputy to the General Court (the colonial legislature).[5][6][7]

In 1633, Cochecho Plantation was bought by a group of English Puritans who planned to settle in New England, including Viscount Saye and Sele, Baron Brooke and John Pym. They promoted colonization in America, and that year Hilton's Point received numerous immigrants, many from Bristol. They renamed the settlement Bristol. Atop the nearby hill they built a meetinghouse surrounded by an entrenchment, with a jail nearby.[8]


The town was called Dover in 1637 by the new governor, Reverend George Burdett. It was possibly named after Robert Dover, an English lawyer who resisted Puritanism.[9] With the 1639 arrival of Thomas Larkham, however, it was renamed after Northam in Devon, where he had been preacher. But Lord Saye and Sele's group lost interest in their settlements, both here and at Saybrook, Connecticut, when their plan to establish a hereditary aristocracy in the colonies met disfavor in New England. Consequently, the plantation was sold in 1641 to Massachusetts and again named Dover.

Settlers built fortified log houses called garrisons, inspiring Dover's nickname "The Garrison City." The population and business center shifted upriver from Dover Point to Cochecho Falls, its drop of 34 feet (10 m) providing water power for industry (Cochecho means "the rapid foaming water.")[10]

Cochecho Massacre

On June 28, 1689, Dover suffered a devastating attack by Native Americans. It was revenge for an incident on September 7, 1676, when 400 Native Americans were duped by Major Richard Waldron into performing a "mock battle" near Cochecho Falls. After discharging their weapons, the Native American warriors were captured. Half were sent to Massachusetts for predations committed during King Philip's War, then either hanged or sold into slavery. Local Native Americans deemed innocent were released, but considered the deception a dishonorable breach of hospitality. Thirteen years passed. When colonists thought the episode forgotten, they struck. Fifty-two colonists, a quarter of the population, were either captured or slain.

During Father Rale's War, in August and September 1723, there were Indian raids on Saco, Maine and Dover, New Hampshire.[11] The following year Dover was raided again and Elizabeth Hanson wrote her captivity narrative.

Dover NH August 2016
Cocheco River from Henry Law Park

Mill era

Smallest boy is Joseph Fortin. His mother (at home) said he is 14 years old. He does not look it. 6 A.M. Group going... - NARA - 523199
Child laborers at Cocheco Manufacturing Company in 1909, photo by Lewis Hine.

Located at the head of navigation, Cochecho Falls brought the Industrial Revolution to 19th-century Dover in a big way. The Dover Cotton Factory was incorporated in 1812, then enlarged in 1823 to become the Dover Manufacturing Company. In 1827, the Cocheco Manufacturing Company was founded (the misspelling a clerical error at incorporation), which in 1829 purchased the Dover Manufacturing Company. Expansive brick mills, linked by railroad, were constructed downtown. Incorporated as a city in 1855, Dover for a time became a leading national producer of textiles.

The mills were purchased in 1909 by the Pacific Mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts, which closed the printery in 1913 but continued spinning and weaving. During the Great Depression, however, textile mills no longer dependent on New England water power began moving to southern states in search of cheaper operating conditions, or simply went out of business. Dover's millyard shut in 1937, then was bought at auction in 1940 by the city itself for $54,000. There were no other bids. Now called the Cocheco Falls Millworks, its tenants include technology and government services companies, plus a restaurant.[12][13]

Antique postcards

The Old Corner, Dover, NH

The Old Corner c. 1892

Central Square at Dover, NH

Central Square c. 1905

Public Library in Dover, NH

Public Library c. 1907

Guppy House, Dover, NH

Guppy House c. 1910

Brick Schoolhouse, Dover, NH

Old Brick Schoolhouse c. 1910, once located near Pine Hill Cemetery

Falls on the Cochecho, Dover, NH

Cochecho Falls c. 1910

Whitcher's Falls, Dover, NH

Whitcher's Falls c. 1910

Pacific Mills, Dover, NH

Pacific Mills c. 1912


Downtown c. 1913

Geography and transportation

Downtown Dover 52
Downtown Dover

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.0 square miles (75.2 km2), of which 26.7 square miles (69.2 km2) is land and 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2) is water, comprising 7.96% of the city.[2] Dover is drained by the Cochecho and Bellamy rivers. Long Hill, elevation greater than 300 feet (91 m) above sea level and located 3 miles (4.8 km) northwest of the city center, is the highest point in Dover. Garrison Hill, elevation approximately 290 ft (88 m), is a prominent hill rising directly above the center city, with a park and lookout tower on top. Dover lies fully within the Piscataqua River (Coastal) watershed.[14]

The city is crossed by New Hampshire Route 4, New Hampshire Route 9, New Hampshire Route 16 (the Spaulding Turnpike), New Hampshire Route 16B, New Hampshire Route 108, and New Hampshire Route 155. It is bordered by the town of Newington to the south (across the inlet to Great Bay), Madbury to the southwest, Barrington and Rochester to the northwest, Somersworth and Rollinsford to the northeast. South Berwick, Maine, lies to the northeast, across the tidal Salmon Falls River, and Eliot, Maine, is to the east, across the Piscataqua River.

The Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) operates a publicly funded bus network in Dover and surrounding communities in New Hampshire and Maine.[15] C&J Trailways is a private intercity bus carrier connecting Dover with other coastal New Hampshire and Massachusetts cities, including Boston, as well as direct service to New York City.[16] Wildcat Transit, operated by the University of New Hampshire, provides bus service to Durham, which is free for students and $1.50 for the public.[17] Amtrak's Downeaster train service stops at the Dover Transportation Center with service to the Portland Transportation Center, Boston's North Station, and intermediate stops.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201731,398[1]4.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]

As of the census of 2010, there were 29,987 people, 12,827 households, and 7,059 families residing in the city. The city grew by 3,103 residents between 2000 and 2010, the largest numeric growth of any town or city in New Hampshire. The population density in 2010 was 1,123.1 people per square mile (433.3/km²). There were 13,685 housing units at an average density of 512.5 per square mile (197.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.6% White, 1.7% African American, 0.20% Native American, 4.6% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.6% some other race, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.[19]

There were 12,827 households, out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.8% were headed by married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.0% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.6% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27, and the average family size was 2.89.[19]

In the city, the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 24.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.0 males.[2]

For the period 2009–11, the estimated median annual income for a household in the city was $55,040, and the median income for a family was $69,980. Male full-time workers had a median income of $51,891 versus $36,167 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,590. About 6.8% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.2% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.[20]


The Dover School District consists of approximately 4000 pupils, attending Horne Street Elementary School, Garrison Elementary School, Woodman Park Elementary School, Dover Middle School and Dover High School. Dover High's athletic teams are known as "The Green Wave," and the middle school's teams are "The Little Green."

Saint Mary Academy, a Catholic school, has been in downtown Dover since 1912, currently serving about 200 students from pre-kindergarten to 8th grade. Many students at Saint Mary's subsequently attend St. Thomas Aquinas High School, a Catholic high school located on Dover Point.

Portsmouth Christian Academy is located west of the Bellamy River in Dover, serving preschool through 12th grade.[21]

The Cocheco Arts and Technology Academy (CATA) is a public charter high school with about 100 students. It was formerly located in Barrington, New Hampshire.

The Seacoast Charter School is a publicly funded elementary/middle school that integrates the arts into the core curriculum. The school was founded in 2004 in Kingston, New Hampshire, and relocated to Dover in 2015. Enrollment in January 2016 was 215 students in grades K-8.[22]

In popular culture

Dover was used as the fictional setting for the Hallmark Channel movie Christmas Incorporated.

Dover was the birthplace of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, created by comic book writers Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird and first published by Mirage Studios - then based in Dover - in 1984.

Historic sites

See also


  1. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Dover city, New Hampshire". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  3. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017: New Hampshire". Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  4. ^ Stackpole, Everett Schermerhorn (1916). History of New Hampshire. New York: The American Historical Society. ISBN 978-1-115-84294-5.
  5. ^ Palmer, Ansell W., ed. Piscataqua Pioneers: Selected Biographies of Early Settlers in Northern New England, pp. 14, 17, 18, 29, 33, 63, 232-3, Piscataqua Pioneers, Portsmouth, NH, 2000. ISBN 0-9676579-0-3.
  6. ^ Anderson, R. C. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, pp. 951-7, vol. 2, New England Historical and Genealogical Society, Boston, 1995.
  7. ^ Scales, J. History of Dover, New Hampshire, pp. 311-13, facsimile of the 1923 edition, Heritage Books, 1989.
  8. ^ Jeremy Belknap, The History of New Hampshire, 1812
  9. ^ Haddon 2004, pp. 64–65
  10. ^ Dover Public Library, "Is it Spelled Cochecho or Cocheco?" Archived 2015-07-07 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ (William Williamson, p. 123)
  12. ^ "Cocheco Falls Millworks". Cocheco Falls Millworks. Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  13. ^ Beaudoin, Cathleen. "A Yarn to Follow: The Dover Cotton Factory 1812—1821". Dover Public Library. Archived from the original on February 23, 2003. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  14. ^ Foster, Debra H.; Batorfalvy, Tatianna N.; Medalie, Laura (1995). Water Use in New Hampshire: An Activities Guide for Teachers. U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Geological Survey.
  15. ^ "Take a closer look at COAST". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  16. ^ "C&J: Connecting Dover, Durham, Portsmouth and Newburyport to Boston South Station and Logan Airport". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  17. ^ "Wildcat Transit". Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  18. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  19. ^ a b "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Dover city, New Hampshire". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  20. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics: 2009-2011 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates (DP03): Dover city, New Hampshire". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  21. ^ "Portsmouth Christian Academy - In the News". Archived from the original on 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  22. ^ "The Seacoast Charter School". Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  • Haddon, Celia (2004), The First Ever English Olimpick Games, Hodder & Stoughton, ISBN 0-340-86274-2

External links

Sites of interest

Charles H. Sawyer

Charles Henry Sawyer (March 30, 1840 – January 18, 1908) was an American manufacturer, businessman and Republican politician. He served as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives and as the 41st Governor of New Hampshire.

Dan Christie Kingman

Dan Christie Kingman (March 6, 1852 – November 14, 1916) was an officer in the United States Army who served as Chief of Engineers from 1913 to 1916.

Dover Transportation Center

Dover Transportation Center is an Amtrak train station in Dover, New Hampshire, United States. The station is served by five daily Downeaster round trips. An average of 150 passengers board or alight at Dover daily, making it the second-busiest stop in New Hampshire.

Foster's Daily Democrat

Foster's Daily Democrat is a six-day (Monday-Saturday) morning broadsheet newspaper published in Dover, New Hampshire, United States, covering southeast New Hampshire and southwest Maine.

In addition to its Dover headquarters, Foster's maintains news bureaus in Rochester and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Fred W. Murphy

Frederick William Murphy (November 6, 1877 – January 22, 1937) was an American football player, coach, official, and lawyer. He served as the head football coach at Massachusetts Agricultural College—now the University of Massachusetts Amherst—from 1899 to 1900 and at the University of Missouri from 1900 to 1901, compiling a career record of 18–19–2.

Ian Hamilton (baseball)

Ian Francis Hamilton (born June 16, 1995) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB).

John P. Hale

John Parker Hale (March 31, 1806 – November 19, 1873) was an American politician and lawyer from New Hampshire. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1843 to 1845 and in the United States Senate from 1847 to 1853 and again from 1855 to 1865. He began his Congressional career as a Democrat, but helped establish the anti-slavery Free Soil Party and eventually joined the Republican Party.

Born in Rochester, New Hampshire, Hale established a legal practice in Dover, New Hampshire after graduating from Bowdoin College. Hale won election to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1832 and served as the United States Attorney for New Hampshire under President Andrew Jackson and President Martin Van Buren. He won election to the United States House of Representatives in 1842 but was denied the party's nomination in 1844 due to his opposition to the annexation of Texas. After losing his seat, he continued to campaign against slavery and won election to the Senate in 1846 as an Independent Democrat. In the Senate, he strongly opposed the Mexican–American War and continued to speak against slavery.

Hale helped establish the anti-slavery Free Soil Party and was a candidate for the party's presidential nomination in 1848, but the 1848 Free Soil Convention instead nominated former President Van Buren. He won the party's presidential nomination in 1852, receiving 4.9% of the popular vote in the general election. After the passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Act, Hale joined the nascent Republican Party and returned to the Senate. He served until 1865, at which point he accepted an appointment from President Abraham Lincoln to serve as the Minister to Spain. He held that post until he was recalled in April 1869, at which point he retired from public office.

John Wentworth Jr.

John Wentworth Jr. (July 17, 1745 – January 10, 1787) was a lawyer who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress for New Hampshire and a signer of the Articles of Confederation.

McIntosh College

McIntosh College, founded in 1896, was an educational institution located in Dover, New Hampshire. It granted Associate's degrees and Bachelor's degrees in a variety of vocational areas, including business management, criminal justice, culinary arts, graphic design and massage therapy. The college closed in 2009.

Mirage Studios

Mirage Studios is an independent American comic book company founded in 1983 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in Dover, New Hampshire, and currently based in Northampton, Massachusetts. They are best known for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book series and the subsequent franchise it has spawned.

Noah Martin

Noah Martin (July 26, 1801 – May 28, 1863) was a New Hampshire businessman and politician who served as Governor from 1852 to 1854.

Raid on Dover

The Raid on Dover (known as the Cochecho Massacre) happened in Dover, New Hampshire on June 27–28, 1689. Led by Chief Kancamagus, it began King William's War, a series of Indian massacres orchestrated by Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin and Father Louis-Pierre Thury.

Regan Hartley

Regan Elizabeth Hartley is an American beauty pageant titleholder from Dover, New Hampshire. Born in 1990, she was crowned Miss New Hampshire 2011 and represented her state in the Miss America 2012 pageant with an anti-bullying platform. Hartley has joined forces with and helped to pass a bill through the New Hampshire state house to protect kids against bullying in schools. She was named as 1st runner-up for the Quality of Life Award at the Miss America 2012 pageant.

Salmon Falls River

The Salmon Falls River is a tributary of the Piscataqua River in the U.S. states of Maine and New Hampshire. It rises at Great East Lake, Newichawannock Canal, and Horn Pond and flows south-southeast for approximately 38 miles (61 km), forming the border between York County, Maine, and Strafford County, New Hampshire.The Salmon Falls River joins the Cochecho River near Dover, New Hampshire to form the Piscataqua River.It provides hydroelectric power at the New Hampshire towns of Milton, North Rochester, East Rochester, New Hampshire, Somersworth, and Rollinsford, and in Maine at Berwick and South Berwick. The final three miles of the river, from South Berwick to the Piscataqua, are tidal.

Local Abenaki Indians called the river Newichawannock, meaning "river with many falls". See Newichawannock Canal

St. Thomas Aquinas High School (New Hampshire)

St. Thomas Aquinas High School is a coeducational Catholic high school in Dover, New Hampshire, United States, in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester. It has a student population of approximately 455 and a faculty of 55.

Thomas Michael O'Leary

Thomas Michael O'Leary (August 16, 1875 – October 10, 1949) was the third Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield in Massachusetts (1921-1949).

The third of seven children, O'Leary was born in Dover, New Hampshire, to Michael and Margaret (née Howland) O'Leary. He graduated from Mungret College in Limerick, Ireland in 1892, and then studied philosophy and theology at the Grand Seminary of Montreal in Quebec, Canada. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Maxime Decelles on December 18, 1897. He then served in parishes at Manchester (1898-1899) and Concord (1899-1904), and was named chancellor (1904) and later vicar general (1914) of the Diocese of Manchester.On June 16, 1921, O'Leary was appointed Bishop of Springfield by Pope Benedict XV. He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 8 from Archbishop Arthur Alfred Sinnott, with Bishops Michael Joseph Curley and George Albert Guertin serving as co-consecrators. During his tenure, he introduced the Passionists and Sisters of Providence, extended Mercy Hospital, and opened 24 new parishes, and was co-founder and first president of Elms College. He aided the Russian War Relief following World War II.O'Leary later died at age 74.


WOKQ is an FM radio station broadcasting on 97.5 MHz. and airs a country music format for the Manchester and Dover-Rochester-Portsmouth, New Hampshire areas.

The transmitter is located in Barrington, New Hampshire with the station's city of license being Dover, New Hampshire. The studios are located in Dover. WOKQ also operates a simulcast on W250AB on 97.9, a translator that fills in signal holes in downtown Manchester. It brands itself as "The Big 97.5".

WOKQ is owned by Townsquare Media. At 50,000 watts of power, its broadcast signal can reach most of southern and central New Hampshire, southern Maine and northeastern Massachusetts clearly.


WTSN (1270 kHz) is a commercial radio station licensed to Dover, New Hampshire and serving the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire and Southern Maine. WTSN airs a news/talk radio format with sports at night. It broadcasts with 5,000 watts of power from a transmitter on Back Road in Dover.

WTSN is simulcast on an FM translator at 98.1, W251CF. The station identifies itself using its FM frequency, "News Talk 98.1 WTSN."


WXGR-LP (103.5 FM) is a non-profit low-power FM radio station licensed to serve Dover, New Hampshire. The station is owned by Gritty Broadcasting.

The station was assigned the WXGR call letters by the Federal Communications Commission on July 31, 2003. The station broadcasts from its tower site in Eliot, Maine, with studios in Newmarket, New Hampshire. WXGR serves the greater Portsmouth, New Hampshire, area.

Places adjacent to Dover, New Hampshire
Municipalities and communities of Strafford County, New Hampshire, United States
Other villages

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