Alton, New Hampshire


Alton is a town in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States The population was 5,250 at the 2010 census1 It is home to Alton Bay State Forest and Mount Major State Forest

The primary settlement in town, where 501 people resided at the 2010 census, is defined by the US Census Bureau as the Alton census-designated place CDP and is centered on the intersection of New Hampshire Route 11 and New Hampshire Route 140 The town also includes the village of Alton Bay, a long-time resort located beside Lake Winnipesaukee

Contents

  • 1 History
  • 2 Geography
  • 3 Demographics
  • 4 Government
  • 5 Sites of interest
  • 6 Historic photos
  • 7 Notable people
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links

Historyedit

Originally called New Durham Gore2 because of rocky upland areas, or "gores," the town was settled in 1770, mainly by farmers because the highland areas provided less frost Merchants then filled the lowlands Early Alton history recounts stories of the merchants trying to convince the farmers to incorporate They would succeed on 15 January 1796,3 when the community was named after Alton, a small market town in Hampshire, England4

Alton was part of Strafford County until Belknap County was erected on 22 December 18405 By 1840, the village of Alton existed at the town's center In 1847, the Cochecho Railroad began bringing passengers and freight to Alton Village and Alton Bay By 1859, the town had two gristmills, seven sawmills, and five shoe factories4 But the most famous business was the Rockwell Clough Company, established by William Rockwell Clough, inventor of the corkscrew By 1903, his company was producing 30 million corkscrews worldwide6

Since the mid-19th century, however, tourism has been the principal business In 1863, the Adventist Campground held their first camp meeting at Alton Bay, which was the terminus of the Dover and Winnipiseogee Railroad7 In 1872, the Boston & Maine Railroad launched at Alton Bay the steamer Mount Washington, the first side-wheeler and largest vessel on Lake Winnipesaukee When destroyed by fire in 1939, a replacement ship was found, also christened Mount Washington Today, it continues to carry summer tourists between stops on the lake The railway survived until 1935, and the old station at Alton Bay is now a community center8

Geographyedit

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 822 square miles 2129 km2, of which 629 square miles 1629 km2 is land and 193 square miles 500 km2 is water, comprising 2349% of the town1 Alton is located at the southern end of Lake Winnipesaukee, around the 4-mile-long 64 km inlet known as Alton Bay The village of Alton Bay is located at the southern tip of the bay, while the main village of Alton is located 1 mile 16 km farther south The town is drained by the Merrymeeting River, the main inlet to Alton Bay Mount Major, in Mount Major State Forest, has an elevation of 1,780 feet 540 m above sea level Popular with hikers, the summit offers unsurpassed views of Lake Winnipesaukee The highest point in Alton is the north peak of Straightback Mountain, at 1,910 ft 580 m, just west of Mount Major Both mountains are part of the Belknap Mountains range Alton lies almost fully within the Merrimack River watershed, though a tiny corner is in the Piscataqua River coastal watershed9

The town is served by five state highways New Hampshire Route 11 passes through the center of town, leading northwest along the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee to Gilford and thence to Laconia, and southeast to Rochester New Hampshire Route 28 also passes through the center of town, leading north to Wolfeboro and south to Pittsfield and Manchester New Hampshire Route 140 leads from Alton west to Gilmanton and Tilton New Hampshire Route 11A leaves NH 11 in West Alton and goes west into Gilford, and New Hampshire Route 28A forms an alternate route north from Alton Bay to NH 28

Demographicsedit

Census
Historical population
Pop
1790 445
1800 721 620%
1810 1,279 774%
1820 2,058 609%
1830 1,993 −32%
1840 2,002 05%
1850 1,795 −103%
1860 2,018 124%
1870 1,768 −124%
1880 1,476 −165%
1890 1,372 −70%
1900 1,500 93%
1910 1,348 −101%
1920 1,221 −94%
1930 1,261 33%
1940 1,209 −41%
1950 1,189 −17%
1960 1,241 44%
1970 1,647 327%
1980 2,440 481%
1990 3,286 347%
2000 4,502 370%
2010 5,250 166%
Est 2015 5,320 13%
US Decennial Census11

As of the census12 of 2000, there were 4,502 people, 1,825 households, and 1,295 families residing in the town The population density was 713 people per square mile 275/km² There were 3,522 housing units at an average density of 558 per square mile 215/km² The racial makeup of the town was 9876% White, 007% African American, 033% Native American, 029% Asian, 004% Pacific Islander, 007% from other races, and 044% from two or more races Hispanic or Latino of any race were 053% of the population

There were 1,825 households out of which 287% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 607% were married couples living together, 66% had a female householder with no husband present, and 290% were non-families 238% of all households were made up of individuals and 104% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older The average household size was 247 and the average family size was 293

In the town, the population was spread out with 238% under the age of 18, 54% from 18 to 24, 267% from 25 to 44, 287% from 45 to 64, and 154% who were 65 years of age or older The median age was 41 years For every 100 females there were 989 males For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 968 males

The median income for a household in the town was $43,451, and the median income for a family was $46,467 Males had a median income of $37,585 versus $29,375 for females The per capita income for the town was $25,940 About 54% of families and 65% of the population were below the poverty line, including 104% of those under age 18 and 25% of those age 65 or over

Governmentedit

In the New Hampshire Senate, Alton is in the 6th District, represented by Republican James Gray On the New Hampshire Executive Council, Alton is in the 1st District, represented by Republican Joe Kenney In the United States House of Representatives, Alton is in New Hampshire's 1st congressional district, represented by Democrat Carol Shea-Porter

Sites of interestedit

  • Alton Historical Society & Museum13
  • Harold S Gilman Museum14
  • Alton Bay, with an arcade, mini-golf, ice cream shop, multiple areas to eat, a marina, and other attractions

Historic photosedit

Notable peopleedit

  • Joel Bean, founder of Beanite Quakerism
  • Bobby Carpenter, center with the NHLcitation needed
  • George Franklin Drew, 12th governor of Florida
  • James B French, member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
  • Florence Holway, rape victim and subject of a 2003 HBO documentary
  • Al Jolson, early 20th century entertainer summer residentcitation needed
  • Steve Leach, right wing with seven NHL teamscitation needed
  • Don Sweeney, defenseman with the Boston Bruins and Dallas Starscitation needed

Referencesedit

  1. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data G001: Alton town, Belknap County, New Hampshire" US Census Bureau, American Factfinder Retrieved December 13, 2013 
  2. ^ Hayward’s New England Gazetteer 1839
  3. ^ Statistics and Gazetteer of New-Hampshire 1875
  4. ^ a b Coolidge, Austin J; John B Mansfield 1859 A History and Description of New England Boston, Massachusetts p 409 
  5. ^ Statistics and Gazetteer of New-Hampshire 1875
  6. ^ A Chester Clark, "The Rockwell Clough Company;" The Granite State Monthly, Volume 41, 1909
  7. ^ Statistics and Gazetteer of New-Hampshire 1875
  8. ^ The MS Mount Washington, a History -- Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society
  9. ^ Foster, Debra H; Batorfalvy, Tatianna N; Medalie, Laura 1995 Water Use in New Hampshire: An Activities Guide for Teachers US Department of the Interior and US Geological Survey 
  10. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015" Retrieved July 2, 2016 
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing" Censusgov Archived from the original on May 12, 2015 Retrieved June 4, 2016 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder" United States Census Bureau Archived from the original on 2013-09-11 Retrieved 2008-01-31 
  13. ^ Alton Historical Society
  14. ^ Welcome to Alton, New Hampshire - Museum Archived 2015-01-12 at the Wayback Machine

External linksedit

  • Town of Alton official website
  • Gilman Library
  • New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau Profile
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