Settled in 1762, Claremont is the largest city in Sullivan County with an estimated population of 13,077 in 2013 and is located along the Connecticut River, bordering Vermont. Cornish and Plainfield are located north of Claremont, with Charlestown to the south, and Unity and Lempster to the east.
Claremont is located in the region of New Hampshire known as the Dartmouth-‐Lake Sunapee Region, offering a variety of year-round recreational and leisure activities. In Claremont the 325-‐acre Moody Park offers trails used for hiking, running, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing. The park also offers tennis courts, picnic tables and grills, and an outdoor ice skating rink. The Sugar River Recreational Trail, running from Claremont to Newport, also offers many of the same activities along the Sugar River following an old railroad bed featuring two covered bridges.
Claremont has a rich history as a New England mill town. The Sugar River, which passes through the city, offered water power during the Industrial Revolution. Large brick mills were built along with principle products produced being paper, cotton and woolen textiles, and machinery. Much like other New England mill towns, many of the factories became vacant in the late 20th century. However, more recently some of the mills have been renovated and now house state offices, a restaurant and inn, a technology company and more community businesses.
The former prosperity of the mills is evident in the Historic Downtown District with its Victorian architecture. Foremost is Claremont City Hall, which houses the Claremont Opera House and city offices. The building was dedicated in 1897 and designed by Charles A. Rich, who was responsible for many buildings at Dartmouth College. It is the focal point of the downtown area with a clock tower that can be seen from many parts of the city. The Claremont Opera House schedules a variety of performances throughout the year for residents and visitors to enjoy.
Presently, Claremont has a diverse business culture including manufacturing, agriculture, technology, and retail. Claremont is blossoming into a must visit, must play, and must stay destination in New Hampshire.
Charlestown has the charm of antiquity, beautiful scenery, and rural surroundings, with a small-town atmosphere. Charlestown is a historic small village in the southwestern corner of the state—the “Quiet Corner”—lying peacefully along the Connecticut River for 13 miles. Within the boundaries of the town are the smaller hamlets of North Charlestown and South Charlestown. Today Charlestown is a community of 4800 people with many churches, civic groups, and businesses. During the Revolution Charlestown was a supply and recruiting town, as well as the jumping-off point onto the Crown Point Road across Vermont. In 1781, unhappy with treatment by New Hampshire, Charlestown actually joined the state of Vermont briefly, only returning to New Hampshire through the intervention of George Washington himself. Federal homes were built along Main Street, and sturdy farmers’ homes, many of them “Capes” (Cape Cod style), dotted the countryside. They remain to this day, many dating back to the 1700s.
Visit the Fort at No. 4, a living history museum. The past comes alive as you travel back in time to the 1740′s and have an unforgettable experience in the authentically reconstructed settlement of Charlestown, New Hampshire. Tour with guides dressed as original settlers of No. 4 as they take you through the gates of our heritage. Demonstrations of hearth cooking, musket firings, military drills, and much more are conducted daily.
The hamlet of North Charlestown has been placed on the National Register.
A pleasant, relaxing place to visit, Charlestown has been an appealing destination for over two centuries
Cornish, New Hampshire has a rich history, unique architectural sites, and beautiful hillside scenery with views to Mount Ascutney across the Connecticut River in Vermont. Cornish can easily be enjoyed by biking or walking. Cornish also boasts three beautiful and historic covered bridges, one of which is nationally recognized as the longest double-span covered bridge in the United States. The Connecticut River was a major trade route for Native Americans, who paddled from camp to camp and planted corn on the river banks. In 1763 Benning Wentworth, the Royal Governor of New Hampshire, surveyed the local woods and took a special interest in the white pines, which could be used for ships’ masts. Cornish served as a home for President Woodrow Wilson, Sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, painter Maxfield Parish and reclusive writer J.D. Salinger.
First granted by colonial governor Jonathan Belcher in 1735 as Number 9 (ninth in a line of forts to guard against Indian attacks), it was regranted in 1753 as Dupplin, after Sir Thomas Hay, Viscount Dupplin, by Governor Benning Wentworth. The town was re-granted one final time in 1767 as Lempster, after one of the titles of a Sir Thomas Farmer of “Lempster” (presumably Leominster in England), and incorporated in 1772. Today Lempster has a population estimated to be 1,125.
Lempster is located in Sullivan County with Unity to the west and Washington, NH, to the east. The villages of Lempster include Dodge Hollow, East Lempster, and Keyes Hollow.
Lempster is home to New Hampshire’s first wind farm located five miles from Mount Sunapee. The wind-power installation provides a total of 24 megawatts from 12 turbines stretching over several connected ridgelines and started operation in 2008. The turbines are located at the highest point in Lempster, on Bean Mountain, a knob on the north-south ridge of Lempster Mountain. They can be seen on a clear day from as far at 20 miles away.
The town of Plainfield was founded in 1761 by a group of 56 proprietors, most from Plainfield, CT. By 1775 the population grew to 308, and controversies arose about the location of the meeting house, which led to the division of the town into two “parishes” in 1780. The western parish included Plainfield Village and lands along the Connecticut River, and the eastern parish was named Meriden. Meriden’s location was decided by Benjamin Kimball’s will and the legacy of his son, Daniel, to establish an academy in 1813 (now Kimball Union Academy).
Plainfield has become a residential community that values its agricultural heritage and its rural character. In addition, Plainfield residents proudly support outstanding educational opportunities for their children, the preservation of their historic buildings and of their natural resources, and the participatory government which centers on their annual Town Meeting.
The Town of Plainfield is the northernmost town in Sullivan County in the State of New Hampshire on the edge of the enclave known as the Cornish Art Colony, which existed between 1885 and 1930. Plainfield is bordered on the north by the Grafton County towns of Lebanon and Enfield, on the east by the Sullivan County town of Grantham, on the south by the Sullivan County towns of Croydon and Cornish, and on the west by the Connecticut River and the state of Vermont.
Plainfield is also home to the Helen Woodruff Smith Bird Sanctuary and Annie Duncan State Forest. Maxfield Parrish painted the stage backdrop in the Plainfield Town Hall. In 1910 Ernest Harold Baynes founded the Meriden Bird Club, the first institution of its type in the nation.
Today Plainfield has a population of about 2,400 and is a welcoming community for those who work in Claremont and the Hanover/Lebanon area.
Unity was founded in 1764. This peaceful countryside town is nestled between several small hills and encompasses many babbling brooks. Unity is located on 2nd NH Turnpike. It is ideal for fishing, hiking, biking, walking, and snowmobiling. Sparkling Crescent Lake is located on Unity’s southern boundary. An Unknown Soldier’s grave from the Revolutionary War can be found on Potato Hill Road. The historic meeting house of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Quaker City, Unity, was built in 1820. Quakers had come to Unity and Acworth from Weare, NH, around 1800. In 1813 the Weare meeting of Friends authorized these Friends to hold meetings for worship in their new community. These were first held in people’s homes, but in 1820 Amos Johnson gave the Weare meeting a small piece of land adjacent to the town cemetery, and the present meeting house was erected. The Quaker Meeting House is still functioning and can be seen by appointment. Call 603-542-6124. The history and charm of Unity offer guests a warm and interesting place to visit.