Salem, New Hampshire

Salem is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 28,776 at the 2010 census.[2] Being located on Interstate 93 as the first town in New Hampshire, which lacks any state sales tax, Salem has grown into a commercial hub, anchored by the Mall at Rockingham Park. Other major sites include the Canobie Lake Park, a large amusement park, and America's Stonehenge, a stone structure of disputed origins. It is the former home of Rockingham Park, a horse racetrack. The Sununu political family hails from Salem, including former New Hampshire governor and White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu, and his sons John E. Sununu, a former U.S. Senator, and Chris Sununu, current New Hampshire governor.

Salem, New Hampshire
Official seal of Salem, New Hampshire

Industry, Commerce, Recreation
Location in Rockingham County and the state of New Hampshire.
Location in Rockingham County and the state of New Hampshire.
Coordinates: 42°47′18″N 71°12′03″W / 42.78833°N 71.20083°WCoordinates: 42°47′18″N 71°12′03″W / 42.78833°N 71.20083°W
CountryUnited States
StateNew Hampshire
CountyRockingham County
North Salem
 • Board of SelectmenEverett P. McBride Jr., Chair
James S. Keller
Lisa S. Withrow
Michael J. Lyons
Robert F. Bryant[1]
 • Town ManagerChristopher A. Dillon
 • Total25.9 sq mi (67.0 km2)
 • Land24.7 sq mi (64.0 km2)
 • Water1.2 sq mi (3.0 km2)  4.49%
131 ft (40 m)
 • Total28,776
 • Density1,100/sq mi (430/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)603
FIPS code33-66660
GNIS feature ID0873713


The Square, Salem Depot, NH
The Square in 1908

The area was first settled in 1652. As early as 1736, Salem was the "North Parish" of Methuen, Massachusetts, or "Methuen District". In 1741, when the boundary line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire was fixed, the "North Parish" became part of New Hampshire, and was given the name "Salem", taken from nearby Salem, Massachusetts. The town was incorporated in 1750 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth.[3] The meetinghouse of the old north parish, erected in 1738, still stands, eventually becoming the town hall of Salem before it was turned into the Salem Historical Society museum.[4]

In 1902, Canobie Lake Park was established in Salem by the Massachusetts Northeast Street Railway Company, to encourage leisure excursions on its trolleys. The plan was successful, and the enterprise quickly became one of the leading resorts of its type in New England. Crowds arrived from all over, including the nearby mill towns of Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell and Methuen in Massachusetts, and Manchester and Nashua in New Hampshire. Factory workers and others found respite strolling along tree-lined promenades, between flower-beds or beside the lake. Rides, arcades and a dance hall provided lively entertainments. The rise of the automobile, however, brought the decline of the trolley. But Canobie Lake Park, one of the few former street railway amusement resorts still in existence, continues to be popular.[5]

Other features of Salem's tourism history include America's Stonehenge, a curiosity (formerly "Mystery Hill"). A recent attraction in town is the Icenter, a skating arena.

Starting in the 1950s, Salem developed rapidly as part of Greater Boston, with suburban-style residential neighborhoods and a long strip of commercial development along NH Route 28. Recent (c. 2006) commercial construction has continued to focus on Route 28, as well as on the commercial zone off Exit 2 on Interstate 93.

The Manchester and Lawrence branch of the B&M railroad ran through Salem until 2001. In 2009, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation commissioned a study exploring reactivation of the branch and instituting commuter rail service connecting to the MBTA Haverhill Line and onward to Boston. The study's cost/benefit analysis recommended taking no action to reactivate beyond preserving the option for consideration at a future time.[6]


Salem's town government consists of a board of selectmen and a town manager. Salem is a part of New Hampshire Senate District 22 and has nine representatives to the New Hampshire House. The state senator for Salem is Senate President Chuck Morse. The state representatives of Salem are Ronald Belanger, John Sytek, Joe Sweeney, Arthur E. Barnes III, Robert Elliot, Gary Azarian, Fred Doucette, Anne Priestly and John J. Manning Jr.

Voter registration in the town of Salem as of November 2012:[7]

Party Number of voters
Republican 6,241
Democratic 5,287
Independent 7,758
Total 19,286


SalemNH TownOffices
Town Office Building

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 25.9 square miles (67 km2), of which 24.7 sq mi (64 km2) is land and 1.2 sq mi (3.1 km2) is water, comprising 4.49% of the town. Salem is drained by the Spicket River and Policy Brook. Canobie Lake is on the western boundary, Arlington Mill Reservoir is in the north, and World End Pond is in the southeast. None of the town's residential water supply incorporates sodium fluoride, a water additive that helps ensure strong teeth enamel.[8] The highest point in Salem is the summit of Gordon's Hill, at 380 feet (120 m) above sea level, along the town's western border.

Salem is the first New Hampshire town encountered when traveling north from Massachusetts on Interstate 93. The interstate's first two New Hampshire exits are within town. Via I-93, Boston is 35 miles (56 km) to the south and Manchester is 20 miles (32 km) to the northwest.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201729,046[9]0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
Apple Tree, Canobie Lake Park
Under the Apple Tree in 1908, Canobie Lake Park

At the 2000 census,[11] there were 28,112 people, 10,402 households and 7,603 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,138.0 per square mile (439.4/km²). There were 10,866 housing units at an average density of 439.9 per square mile (169.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.01% White, 0.55% African American, 0.21% Native American, 2.27% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.83% from other races, and 1.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.96% of the population.

There were 10,402 households of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.6% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.9% were non-families. Of all households 21.2% were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.16.

Age distribution was 25.3% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.9 males.

The median household income was $58,090, and the median family income was $67,278. Males had a median income of $46,330 versus $31,031 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,170. About 3.1% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.1% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.


Four New Hampshire State Routes and one Interstate Highway cross Salem.

  • NH 28 follows Broadway through the Salem central business district, becoming Rockingham Road in the northern part of town. It connects Salem to Windham in the north and Methuen, Massachusetts in the south.
  • NH 38 begins in Salem at NH 28 (Broadway) just to the east of the Mall at Rockingham Park, and goes southwest into the town of Pelham. It primarily follows Lowell Road and Rockingham Park Boulevard.
  • NH 97 begins in Salem at NH 28 (Broadway) and follows Main Street east to connect Salem to Haverhill, Massachusetts.
  • NH 111 cross the extreme northern part of the town, connecting to Windham in the west and Hampstead in the east.
  • Interstate 93 crosses the town from southeast to northwest. There are two interchanges in Salem, Exit 1, which provides access to Rockingham Park Boulevard, and Exit 2, which provides access to Pelham Road.

The nearest airport is Manchester–Boston Regional Airport along the border of Londonderry and Manchester. The nearest rail service is the Haverhill Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail which can be accessed at Lawrence station in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The nearest Amtrak station is at Haverhill station in Haverhill, Massachusetts.


Salem public schools spend $5,544 per student. The average school expenditure in the U.S. is $5,678. There are about 16.1 students per teacher in Salem.[12]

High School

Salem in popular culture

Rockingham Park racetrack was located in Salem. As mentioned in the film The Sting starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, it was central to that film's plot.

Scenes from the original The Thomas Crown Affair were filmed at the Salem glider airport, which is now Campbell's Scottish Highlands Golf Course.

Notable people

Points of interest


  1. ^ "Board of Selectmen". Town of Salem New Hampshire. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  2. ^ United States Census Bureau, American FactFinder, 2010 Census figures. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  3. ^ Edgar Gilbert's History of Salem, N.H. (1907)
  4. ^ Gilbert
  5. ^ Seed, Douglas, & Khalife, Katherine (1996). Salem, NH. Volume II - Trolleys, Canobie Lake, and Rockingham Park, Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-0438-5.
  6. ^ HNTB Corporation (2009). I-93 Corridor Multi-Modal Transit Investment Study.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Is there fluoride in the water?". Town of Salem New Hampshire. Town of Salem, NH. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017 (PEPANNRES): Minor Civil Divisions – New Hampshire". Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  12. ^ "Best Places to Live in Salem, New Hampshire". Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  13. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ "Pamela C. Gidley Obituary".
  15. ^ "SUNUNU, John E. - Biographical Information". Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  16. ^ Axelrod, Tal. "Ex-chief of staff mourns George H.W. Bush: 'I will miss a great friend'".

External links

1927 AAA Championship Car season

The 1927 AAA Championship Car season consisted of 11 races, beginning in Culver City, California on March 6 and concluding in Salem, New Hampshire on October 12. There were also three non-championship races. The AAA National Champion was Peter DePaolo and the Indianapolis 500 winner was George Souders.

1928 AAA Championship Car season

The 1928 AAA Championship Car season consisted of seven races, beginning in Speedway, Indiana on May 30 and concluding in Salem, New Hampshire on October 12. There were also three non-championship races. The AAA National Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner was Louis Meyer.

1997 Junior League World Series

The 1997 Junior League World Series took place from August 11–16 in Taylor, Michigan, United States. Salem, New Hampshire defeated Mission Viejo, California in the championship game.

America's Stonehenge

America's Stonehenge is an archaeological site consisting of a number of large rocks and stone structures scattered around roughly 30 acres (120,000 m2) within the town of Salem, New Hampshire in the United States. It is open to the public for a fee as part of a recreational area which includes snowshoe trails and an alpaca farm. It is a tourist attraction with particular appeal to believers in New Age systems.

A number of hypotheses exist as to the origin and purpose of the structures. One viewpoint is a mixture of land-use practices of local farmers in the 18th and 19th centuries and construction of structures by owner William Goodwin in the 1930s. Some claim that the site has a pre-Columbian European origin, but this is regarded as pseudoarchaeological or the result of an early-20th century hoax. Archaeologist David Starbuck has said that "it is widely believed that Goodwin may have 'created' much of what is visible at the site today".The site was first dubbed Mystery Hill by William Goodwin, an insurance executive who purchased the area in 1937. This was the official name of the site until 1982, when it was renamed "America's Stonehenge", a term coined in a news article in the early 1960s. The rebranding was an effort to separate it from roadside oddity sites and to reinforce the idea that it is an ancient archaeological site. The area is named after Stonehenge in England, although there is no cultural or historical connection between the two.


Daniel Ray Stemkoski (born April 6, 1983), better known by his nickname Artosis, is an American professional Esports commentator. Together with Nick "Tasteless" Plott, he provides commentary for AfreecaTV Global StarCraft II League games.

Canobie Lake

Canobie Lake is a 375-acre (1.52 km2) body of water located in Rockingham County in southern New Hampshire, United States, in the towns of Salem and Windham. It is approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long, and on average 0.4 miles (0.64 km) wide, though two arms of the lake combine to produce a width of 1 mile (1.6 km) at the lake's center. Canobie Lake Park, an amusement park, is located on the lake's east shore. The lake is the water supply for the town of Salem, New Hampshire.

Canobie Lake is predominantly spring-fed. Aside from the amusement park, the shores of the lake are primarily lined with houses. Water from the lake flows via Policy Brook to the Spicket River and thence to the Merrimack River in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

The lake is classified as a warmwater fishery, with observed species including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, brown bullhead, black crappie, rainbow trout, brook trout, bluegill, and pumpkinseed.

Canobie Lake Park

Canobie Lake Park is an amusement park in Salem, New Hampshire, located about 31 miles (50 km) north of Boston. Founded as a trolley park on the shore of Canobie Lake on 1902, the park most prominently featured botanical gardens, with few amusement rides. Three local families currently run the park, which draws visitors from throughout the New England region. Canobie Lake Park's age and history inspired author Stephen King to use rides and elements from the park in his Joyland novel. It is one of only thirteen trolley parks still operating in the United States as of 2018.

After the automobile became the most popular mode of travel in the United States, the trolley line serving the park was closed. Attendance in the park declined until it was purchased by Patrick J. Holland. He installed a wooden roller coaster named Yankee Cannonball in 1936, a ride which was designated as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark by American Coaster Enthusiasts in 2013. The park recovered, and the Canobie Corkscrew was installed in 1987, after being relocated from the Old Chicago amusement park in Illinois. Arrow Development designed the Canobie Corkscrew, which was known at the time as the Chicago Loop. Untamed, a Euro-Fighter coaster, is the only other coaster in the park besides the Corkscrew with an inversion.

Chris Sununu

Christopher T. Sununu (; born November 5, 1974) is an American Republican politician, businessman, and engineer serving as the 82nd Governor of New Hampshire since January 2017. Sununu was previously a member of the New Hampshire Executive Council, an office he held from 2011 to 2017.

Sununu was born in Salem, New Hampshire. He also served as chief executive officer of the Waterville Valley Ski Resort in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. He earned a bachelor's degree in civil and environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sununu is a son of former New Hampshire Governor and White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu and younger brother of former U.S. Representative and Senator John E. Sununu.

Chuck Morse

Chuck Morse (born October 11, 1960) is the former president of the New Hampshire Senate. He served as Acting Governor of New Hampshire from January 3, 2017, upon Maggie Hassan's resignation as governor, until January 5, 2017, when Chris Sununu was inaugurated. A Republican, Morse represents the 22nd district in the Senate.

He served in the New Hampshire Senate from 2002 through 2006 and led the Senate Finance Committee. He returned to the New Hampshire Senate in 2010 by being elected in the 22nd district that fall. He was chosen as the President of the Senate, succeeding Peter Bragdon, in 2013. Morse currently serves on the Finance Committee.

Morse was re-elected to his Senate seat in 2018, but the Republicans were in the minority by a margin of 14-10 in 2019-2020. The 10 newly-elected Republican members of the State Senate chose Morse as their caucus leader shortly after the election. His successor as President was Democratic State Senator Donna Soucy.

Katie King-Crowley

Kathryn Karen King (born May 24, 1975) is an American ice hockey player. Born in Salem, New Hampshire, she won a gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics, silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics and a bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics. She graduated from Brown University in 1997. While at Brown, she also played softball, and was selected as the Ivy League Softball Player of the Year in 1996.King graduated from Brown University in 1997 with 123 goals and 83 assists in 100 games. King also played for the US National Women's Team. At six World Championships, King registered 36 points in 30 games. At the 2001 tournament, she had a tournament-high seven goals. She also played for the 2005 gold medal winning team. At the end of her Olympic career, she ranked first all time amongst Americans in Olympic scoring with 23 points. She has won gold (Nagano), silver (Salt Lake City) and bronze (Torino) during her Olympic career.In 2006, King became an assistant women's ice hockey coach for the Boston College Eagles women's ice hockey program, and was named the head coach in 2007 following the resignation of former head coach Tom Mutch.

North Salem, New Hampshire

North Salem is a section of the town of Salem in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. It occupies the northernmost portion of the town and is located at the northern end of Arlington Mill Reservoir. Although there are some shops and other businesses, it is mostly a residential area.

The community is bypassed by New Hampshire Route 111, which travels northeast to Hampstead and Kingston, and southwest to Windham and Hudson.

North Salem has a separate ZIP code (03073, P.O. boxes only) from other areas in the town of Salem.

Rockingham Park

Rockingham Park was a 1-mile (1.6 km) horse racing establishment in Salem, New Hampshire, in the United States. First built in 1906, it was used as an area for many to gamble on the weekends. Seabiscuit raced there in 1935 and 1936, and Mom's Command ran in her first race and gained her first victory there in 1984. Rockingham Park also hosted simulcasting and charity gaming. The last live horse racing at the track occurred in 2009. Rockingham Park closed its doors for good on August 31, 2016, and was sold for redevelopment of the property. The racetrack was demolished in the summer of 2017. It is currently being redeveloped as part of the Tuscan Plaza project.The New Hampshire Sweepstakes (now New Hampshire Lottery) was originated in 1964 and raced here from 1964 to 1967. The race was brought back in 1984 (though not connected with sweepstakes tickets) and was the feature event of the summer racing meet.

In 1991, the Mall at Rockingham Park, currently the largest mall in northern New England, was constructed adjacent to the racetrack, and has Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sears, J. C. Penney, Macy's (originally Jordan Marsh), and Lord & Taylor for anchors. The mall is owned and managed by Simon Property Group and is not affiliated with the racetrack.

Rumbo (newspaper)

Rumbo is a free weekly bilingual newspaper published in Lawrence, Massachusetts, United States, covering the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire.

Salem High School (New Hampshire)

Salem High School is a public high school located in Salem, New Hampshire, United States. There are as of 2011 approximately 1,600 students. The school is equipped with a library which contains over 20,000 books, as well as a vocational center. The school offers many unique and different classes, ranging from astronomy to television production.

Spicket River

The Spicket River is a 17.7-mile-long (28.5 km) river located in New Hampshire and Massachusetts in the United States. It is a left tributary of the Merrimack River, part of the Gulf of Maine watershed. It is sometimes spelled "Spickett".

The Spicket River begins at the outlet of Island Pond in Derry, New Hampshire, and flows south into Salem, New Hampshire, passing through the Arlington Mill Reservoir. The river continues through Salem, encountering copious suburban development, and enters the city of Methuen, Massachusetts, where it drops nearly 100 feet over a series of dams on its way to the Merrimack River in Lawrence.

The Mall at Rockingham Park

The Mall at Rockingham Park is the largest shopping mall in the state of New Hampshire, with 1,024,171 square feet (95,148.6 m2) of floor space. The mall is located in the town of Salem, about 30 miles (48 km) north of Boston.The mall is adjacent to Interstate 93 and the former Rockingham Park race track in Salem, and was the state's third shopping mall to be built. The mall now hosts 144 stores, with Lord & Taylor, Macy's, JCPenney, and Dick's Sporting Goods as anchors with one vacant anchor last occupied by Sears. The mall is managed by Simon Property Group, which owns 28.2% of it. As of March 2015, the mall was Simon's highest grossing center, with annual sales of $2,105 per square foot.Like the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, the Mall at Rockingham Park is located close to the Massachusetts state line and draws many customers from that state. New Hampshire has no sales tax on most goods. The success of the Mall at Rockingham Park, which opened in August 1991, caused the Methuen Mall across the line in Methuen, Massachusetts, to close in 1997; it was replaced with The Loop, a "big box"-style center. The Mall at Rockingham Park also caused the adjacent (and older) Rockingham Mall to convert into a "big box" center, as Salem could no longer support two shopping malls. In 2006, the mall's original Macy's store (formerly Jordan Marsh) was closed with all Filene's converting into Macy's.

In 2011, Lord & Taylor renovated and converted the former Macy's space, opening its first New Hampshire store in March, 2012. In 2015, Dick's Sporting Goods took over Sears' second floor as part of a deal with the company. It was one of 235 properties spun off from Sears Holdings into Seritage Growth Properties in 2015. Dick's opened October 2015.

In November 2018, Sears closed as one of 46 stores nationwide. Cinemark Theatres expects to build a movie theater on the Seritage site.

Untamed (roller coaster)

Untamed is a steel Euro-Fighter roller coaster located at Canobie Lake Park in Salem, New Hampshire.


WMVX (1110 AM; "Valley 98.9") is a radio station broadcasting a classic hits format. Established in 1977 as WVNH, the station is licensed to serve Salem, New Hampshire, United States, and is owned by Costa-Eagle Radio Ventures Limited Partnership, a partnership between Pat Costa and his chief investor, The Eagle-Tribune. The station's programming is also heard on translator station W255DA (98.9 FM) in Salem.

WMVX is only licensed to operate from local sunrise until 30 minutes after local sunset (the latter with reduced power); this is to protect WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina. However, in the fall and winter months, it is not unusual for WMVX to be heard before sunrise.

Yankee Cannonball

The Yankee Cannonball is a wooden out-and-back roller coaster built in 1930 at Lakewood Park and relocated in 1936 to Canobie Lake Park, Salem, New Hampshire.

Places adjacent to Salem, New Hampshire
Municipalities and communities of Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States
Other villages
Major cities
Cities and towns
Cities and towns
Cities and towns

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