Peterborough is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 6,284 at the 2010 census. The central settlement in town, with 3,103 people at the 2010 census, is defined as the Peterborough census-designated place (CDP) and is located along the Contoocook River at the junction of U.S. Route 202 and New Hampshire Route 101. The community is 38 miles (61 km) west of Manchester and 72 miles (116 km) northwest of Boston.
Peterborough, New Hampshire
Town House, built in 1918
|• Board of Selectmen||Tyler Ward, Chair|
|• Town Administrator||Rodney Bartlett|
|• Total||38.1 sq mi (98.7 km2)|
|• Land||37.7 sq mi (97.7 km2)|
|• Water||0.4 sq mi (1.1 km2) 1.06%|
|Elevation||718 ft (219 m)|
|• Density||167/sq mi (64.3/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0873697|
Granted by Massachusetts in 1737, it was first permanently settled in 1749. The town suffered several attacks during the French and Indian War. Nevertheless, by 1759, there were fifty families settled. Incorporated on January 17, 1760 by Governor Benning Wentworth, it was named after Lieutenant Peter Prescott (1709–1784) of Concord, Massachusetts, a prominent land speculator.
The Contoocook River and Nubanusit Brook offered numerous sites for watermills, and Peterborough became a prosperous mill town. In 1810, the first cotton factory was established. By 1859, when the population was 2,222, there were four additional cotton factories, plus a woolen mill. Other industries included two paper mills, an iron foundry, a machine shop, a carriage factory, a basket manufacturer, a maker of trusses and supporters, a boot and shoe factory, seven sawmills, and three gristmills.
Abiel Abbot, after being charged with heresy by the Connecticut religious establishment, came to Peterborough as minister to the Peterborough Unitarian Church in 1827. Reverend Abbot founded the town's first prep school, the Monadnock Summer Lyceum, and the first free library in the US, all in Peterborough.
Other early cultural institutions include Mariarden, a summer theatre where Paul Robeson played in Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones at a time when roles for black Americans were scarce. Bette Davis performed there as a teen.
Performance blossomed again in 1976, when Widdie and Jonathon Hall founded the Peterborough Folkway. "Within a few years, it became a 'must play' on the East Coast for folk musicians and continued to be a popular stop" for two decades. Regular performers included Tom Paxton, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, and Suzanne Vega.
In the 1980s, thanks to publisher Wayne Green, "Peterborough was clearly the per capita magazine production capital of the world." Over 100 magazines, mostly about computers and technology, were published there; these included Byte and MacComputing.
Peterborough is home to the first tax-supported free public library in the United States. The Peterborough Town Library was founded at a town meeting on April 9, 1833. This idea was revolutionary in a time when subscription libraries were popular. The collection of materials would essentially be owned by the people and free to access. Funds for the formation of the library were made available through the State Literacy Fund. The Reverend Abiel Abbot already had experience in creating libraries. In the six years he had spent in Peterborough prior to 1833, he had established the Juvenile Library, which he operated out of his home, and the Peterborough Library Company, a dues-paying membership library. Due to the success of Abbot's libraries, specifically the Town Library, the New Hampshire State Legislature passed a law authorizing towns to raise money to establish and maintain their own libraries. This law was enacted in 1849, making New Hampshire the first state to pass a law of this nature.
The library started in the town's general store, which also served as the post office. The postmaster also served as the librarian, until Susan Gates was appointed in 1854. By 1873, it was decided that the library materials would be moved to the Town Hall, but by 1890, there were 6,000 books and not enough space to accommodate the collection and patrons. A new library was built and continues to operate as the town's library. Since construction, the library has been expanded twice, and its collection has grown from the hundred original items to over 43,000 books. A booklet on the history of the library is available at the circulation desk.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 38.1 square miles (98.7 km2), of which 37.7 square miles (97.7 km2) is land and 0.42 square miles (1.1 km2) is water, comprising 1.06% of the town. Peterborough is drained by Nubanusit Brook and the Contoocook River. The highest point in Peterborough is South Pack Monadnock Mountain (2,290 feet (698 m) above sea level), in Miller State Park. Peterborough is also home to Edward MacDowell Dam and Lake recreation area, where visitors can walk across the dam, hike, cross-country ski, swim, boat, picnic, play Frisbee golf, horseshoes or other recreational opportunities, many of them disabilities accessible.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 6,284 people, 2,713 households, and 1,629 families residing in the town. The population density was 167.0 people per square mile (64.3/km²). There were 2,956 housing units at an average density of 78.4 per square mile (30.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.1% White, 1.8% Asian, 0.7% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.4% some other race, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.
There were 2,713 households, out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.8% were headed by married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 33.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.2% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24, and the average family size was 2.85.
In the town, the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 19.9% from 25 to 44, 30.3% from 45 to 64, and 22.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.7 males.
For the period 2009–2013, the estimated median annual income for a household in the town was $66,026, and the median income for a family was $89,401. Male full-time workers had a median income of $66,314 versus $34,707 for females. The per capita income for the town was $40,385.
The public schools are part of Contoocook Valley school district (SAU 1) which has a total of 11 schools and 1 applied technology center.
In addition to formal education, the town has dance and karate studios, arts, sports, fitness and nature activities year round, for children and adults.
Peterborough is a global village and entrepreneurial seedbed. Start-ups that grew up here include New Hampshire Ball Bearing, Microspec, Pure Flow, Peterboro Basket Company, Borrego Solar, MobileRobots Inc., Toadstool Bookstores, Froling Energy, Brookstone, and Hyndsight Vision Systems. According to a fall 2015 survey of residents, run by the Peterborough Economic Development Authority, approximately a third of Peterborough workers are home-based entrepreneurs or telecommuters. The telecommuters who were surveyed worked for corporations in many parts of the US and EU.
Like the rest of New Hampshire and the Monadnock region, Peterborough's third largest industry is tourism. The town's outdoor amenities include hiking trails, wild flowers, cross-country skiing, kayaking, cycling and small lakes for swimming, sailing, fishing and ice-skating. It is a popular bird-watching area, one of two sites of the NH Audubon autumn migratory raptor count.
Its cultural attractions include the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, the exhibition gallery and craft gallery of the Sharon Arts Center, the Peterborough Players theatre, Peterborough Community Theater cinema, Monadnock Music concerts, the Monadnock Summer Lyceum, MAXT Makerspace and Mariposa Children's Museum. Peterborough's First Saturday contradances are a place for singles and dance enthusiasts to enjoy live music in the spacious Peterborough Town Hall.
The town of Peterborough is a leader in sustainability: It has been cited by the US Environmental Protection Agency for its Green Purchasing Practices; since 2014, the town achieved 100% reliance on sustainable energy. Its model for funding the largest solar facility in New Hampshire has drawn national and international attention, including climate scientists from around the world in the US Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. The solar array was built atop a wastewater treatment plant.
Many artists' introduction to the town comes as fellows to the MacDowell Colony, a wooded creative retreat that provides grants to over 250 artists per year. "While working at MacDowell, Leonard Bernstein composed his Mass; Aaron Copland composed Billy the Kid; Thornton Wilder wrote Our Town and The Bridge of San Luis Rey; James Baldwin wrote Giovanni’s Room; Willa Cather wrote Death Comes for the Archbishop; DuBose and Dorothy Heyward wrote Porgy and Bess; and Virgil Thomson composed Mother of Us All. Alice Walker worked on her first novel and Meridian at MacDowell. Michael Chabon wrote The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; Alice Sebold wrote The Lovely Bones, and Jonathan Franzen completed The Corrections."
The town celebrates First Friday monthly with presentations by MacDowell Colony artists, along with gallery openings, special shopping opportunities, and events in the downtown area. Favorite hang-outs include Harlow's Pub with its live music, Cooper Hill Public House and the Riverside Water House. Once a year, the Colony opens up its grounds to the public when it presents one person with the MacDowell Medal.
The town has approximately one restaurant for every 200 residents. Restaurants line Route 202, from family-style Brady's American Grill north of town to The Pearl and the Parker House Coffee Roaster on south 202. The Peterborough Diner, a classic Worcester railway lunch car in the center of the village square, attracts many presidential hopefuls every four years.
Peterborough hosts many events. The Snow Ball in January, Children and the Arts Day in May, Thing in the Spring music festival in June and Greenerborough, a summer festival promoting the town's leading position in sustainability, are just a few of the music, arts, farm, energy and nature celebrations held annually.
The Moses Cheney house in Peterborough served as a stop on the Underground Railroad in the mid-19th century, and Frederick Douglass stayed at the home. Moses' son Oren B. Cheney founded Bates College in 1855, and his son Person C. Cheney was a U.S. senator.
New Hampshire's oldest continuously active state militia unit, the Lafayette Artillery Company, was founded in Peterborough in 1804. It is now based in nearby Lyndeborough. However, since the early 20th century, Peterborough has been home to the Amoskeag Veterans, founded in Manchester in the mid-19th century.
The town was a model for the play Our Town, written by Thornton Wilder while in residence at the MacDowell Colony. His fictional town of Grovers Corners appears to have been named for Peterborough's Grove Street. At the corner of Grove and Main streets, a cell-phone Quick Response Code near the horse-head fountain starts a QR-code tour of Peterborough.
The film The Sensation of Sight was shot entirely in Peterborough.
The Mariposa Museum is dedicated to celebrating different cultures while offering visual and audio aids to further teach the importance of diversity. In addition to providing a multitude of different cultural perspectives, the Mariposa Museum also houses a massive collection of marionettes and puppets, which visitors can experience on the main floor of the museum.
All Saints Church is an historic Episcopal church located at 51 Concord Street in Peterborough, New Hampshire, in the United States. Completed in 1914, it is a completely realized example of an English country church as interpreted by the architect Ralph Adams Cram. On December 1, 1980, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.Clay Mathematics Institute
The Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) is a private, non-profit foundation, based in Peterborough, New Hampshire, United States. CMI's scientific activities are managed from the President's office in Oxford, United Kingdom. The institute is "dedicated to increasing and disseminating mathematical knowledge." It gives out various awards and sponsorships to promising mathematicians. The institute was founded in 1998 through the sponsorship of Boston businessman Landon T. Clay. Harvard mathematician Arthur Jaffe was the first president of CMI.
While the institute is best known for its Millennium Prize Problems, it carries out a wide range of activities, including a postdoctoral program (ten Clay Research Fellows are supported currently), conferences, workshops, and summer schools.ConVal Regional High School
ConVal Regional High School (short for Contoocook Valley Regional High School) is a high school in Peterborough, New Hampshire that serves nine surrounding towns: Peterborough, Greenfield, Antrim, Dublin, Hancock, Sharon, Temple, Bennington and Francestown. The principal is Gib West. ConVal has approximately 720 students and has had several notable sports and academic teams in the past. ConVal's mascot is the cougar. The school colors are blue and gold.George A. Ramsdell
George Allen Ramsdell (March 11, 1834 – November 16, 1900) was an American lawyer, businessman, and Republican politician from Nashua, New Hampshire. He served as Governor of New Hampshire from 1897 to 1899.James Miller (general)
James Miller (April 25, 1776 – July 7, 1851) was the first Governor of Arkansas Territory and a brevet brigadier general in the United States Army during the War of 1812. It was during his term as governor, and partly due to his influence, that the territory's capital was moved from Arkansas Post to Little Rock.John Hardy Steele
John Hardy Steele (January 4, 1789 – July 3, 1865) served as Governor of New Hampshire from 1844 to 1846.John Wilson (Massachusetts politician)
John Wilson (January 10, 1777 – August 9, 1848) was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.
Born in Peterborough, New Hampshire, Wilson graduated from Harvard University in 1799.
He studied law.
He was admitted to the bar in 1802 at Peterborough, New Hampshire, and commenced practice in Belfast, Maine (then a district of Massachusetts).
He served as a captain in the State militia.
Wilson was elected as a Federalist to the Thirteenth Congress (March 4, 1813 – March 3, 1815).
He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1814 to the Fourteenth Congress.
He resumed the practice of his profession in Belfast.
He was elected to the Fifteenth Congress (March 4, 1817 – March 3, 1819).
He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1818.
He engaged in the practice of law until his death in Belfast, Maine, August 9, 1848.
He was interred in Grove Cemetery.MacDowell Colony
The MacDowell Colony is an artists' colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, United States, founded in 1907 by composer Edward MacDowell and his wife, pianist and philanthropist Marian MacDowell. After he died in 1908, Marian forged ahead, establishing the Colony through a nonprofit association in honor of her husband, raising funds to transform her farm into a quiet retreat for creative artists to work. She led the colony for almost 25 years, against a background of two world wars, the Great Depression, and other challenges.
The mission of The MacDowell Colony is to nurture the arts by offering creative individuals of the highest talent an inspiring environment in which they can produce enduring works of the imagination.
Over the years, an estimated 8,300 artists have been supported in residence with nearly 15,000 Fellowships, including the winners of at least 86 Pulitzer Prizes, 828 Guggenheim Fellowships, 107 Rome Prizes, 31 National Book Awards, 30 Tony Awards, 32 MacArthur Fellowships, 15 Grammys, 8 Oscars, and 8 National Medals for the Arts. The colony has accepted visual and interdisciplinary artists, architects, filmmakers, composers, playwrights, poets, and writers, both well-known and unknown.Marland P. Billings
Marland Pratt Billings (March 11, 1902 – October 9, 1996) was an American structural geologist who was considered one of the greatest authorities on North American geology. Billings was Professor of Geology at Harvard University for almost his entire career, having joined the faculty in 1930 and retired to emeritus status in 1972. He also taught for a brief time at Bryn Mawr College.Matt Bolduc
Matthew Bolduc (born October 12, 1994) is an American professional soccer player who plays for USL League One club Richmond Kickers as a midfielder.Matt Deis
Matthew Christopher Deis (born December 13, 1983) is an American musician and songwriter. Originally from Peterborough, New Hampshire, he is best known as the bassist of CKY with whom he performed with between 2005 and 2010 and then returning to the band in 2015, and the former bassist of metalcore band All That Remains, with whom he performed between 2003 and 2005.Miller State Park
Miller State Park is the oldest state-run park in New Hampshire, a state in the New England region of the United States. It is located in the towns of Peterborough and Temple, and is centered on Pack Monadnock, a 2,290-foot (700 m) mountain. .Pack Monadnock
This article is about a mountain located in Peterborough and Temple, New Hampshire and should not be confused with the nearby Mount Monadnock. For other uses of the term, see Monadnock (disambiguation)Pack Monadnock or Pack Monadnock Mountain 2,290 feet (700 m), is the highest peak of the Wapack Range of mountains and the highest point in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. The mountain, a monadnock, is located in south-central New Hampshire within the towns of Peterborough and Temple. The 22 mi (35 km) Wapack Trail and a number of shorter trails traverse the mountain. A firetower and ledges on the summit offer long views north to the White Mountains, west to Mount Monadnock, and south into Massachusetts. North Pack Monadnock Mountain is located directly to the north along the Wapack ridgeline; Temple Mountain to the south.
Much of the mountain is located within Miller State Park. A seasonal automobile road ascends from the south to a picnic area at the summit. The summit also has a manned air-pollution monitoring station.
The east side of the mountain drains into the Souhegan River watershed, thence into the Merrimack River and Atlantic Ocean; the west side drains into the Contoocook River, thence into the Merrimack River.
The mountain is the home of the Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, where birdwatchers from around the region gather for the annual hawk migration. During the peak migration season in September, birdwatchers search the sky for kettles of hundreds of hawks swarming above rising thermals as they migrate south.
The mountain's summit at Peterborough is also home to the transmitter of NOAA Weather Radio station WNG575.Perkins Bass
Perkins Bass (October 6, 1912 – October 25, 2011) was an American elected official from the state of New Hampshire, including four terms as a U.S. Representative from 1955 to 1963.Robert P. Bass
Robert Perkins Bass (September 1, 1873 – July 29, 1960) was an American farmer, forestry expert, and Republican politician from Peterborough, New Hampshire. He served in both houses of the New Hampshire Legislature and as chairman of the state's Forestry Commission before being elected governor of New Hampshire in 1910.
He started one of the state's political dynasties. Both his son, Perkins Bass, and grandson, Charles F. Bass, were elected to the US House of Representatives. His daughter, Joanne, was the first wife of Marshall Field IV, heir to the Marshall Field's fortune and publishing mogul.Robert Smith (Illinois politician)
Robert Smith (June 12, 1802 – December 21, 1867) was a U.S. Representative from Illinois, nephew of Jeremiah Smith and Samuel Smith of New Hampshire. Smith founded General Mills in 1856.Born in Peterborough, New Hampshire, Smith attended the public schools and New Ipswich Academy. He taught school. He engaged in mercantile pursuits in 1822 and in the manufacturing of textile goods in Northfield, New Hampshire in 1823. He studied law. He was admitted to the bar and practiced. He moved to Illinois and settled in Alton in 1832 and again engaged in mercantile pursuits.
Smith was elected captain in the state militia in 1832. He was an extensive land owner, and engaged in the real estate business. He served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1836-1840. He was elected enrolling and engrossing clerk of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1840 and 1842.
Smith was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Congresses and reelected as an Independent Democrat to the Thirtieth Congress (March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1849). He served as chairman of the Committee on Roads and Canals (Twenty-ninth Congress).
Smith was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-fifth Congress (March 4, 1857 – March 3, 1859). He served as chairman of the Committee on Mileage (Thirty-fifth Congress). He served as paymaster during the Civil War. He died in Alton, and was interred in Alton City Cemetery.
Smith attended an event in Greenville, Illinois in 1858 in which Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas gave speeches around the time of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.Sam Huntington
Sam Huntington (born April 1, 1982) is an American actor. He is best known for his starring role as Josh Levison, a werewolf in the Syfy series Being Human, and for his role as Jimmy Olsen in the superhero film Superman Returns. For its two seasons from September 2015 to April 2017, Huntington had a recurring role on the Fox series Rosewood. He also played Mimi-Siku Cromwell in the Disney movie Jungle 2 Jungle. He played Ox in Not Another Teen Movie. He also had a cameo in the December 2017 USA Network TV-film Psych: The Movie.Walter R. Peterson Jr.
Walter Rutherford Peterson Jr. (September 19, 1922 – June 1, 2011) was an American realtor, educator, and Republican politician from Peterborough, New Hampshire, who served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and two terms as Governor of New Hampshire.West Peterborough, New Hampshire
West Peterborough is an unincorporated community in the town of Peterborough in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. It is located along Nubanusit Brook in the western part of the town. Union Street leads 2 miles (3 km) east to the Peterborough town center and 0.6 miles (1.0 km) south to New Hampshire Route 101, a highway connecting Keene to the west with Milford to the east.
West Peterborough has a separate ZIP code (03468) from the rest of Peterborough. The community's population, however, is included in the Peterborough census-designated place, comprising the central settled area of the town.
Places adjacent to Peterborough, New Hampshire
Municipalities and communities of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States