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Jefferson, New Hampshire

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Jefferson is a town in Coos County, New Hampshire, United States The population was 1,107 at the 2010 census1 It is home to parts of the White Mountain National Forest in the south and northeast and to two theme parks: Santa's Village and Fort Jefferson Fun Park There are also several private campgrounds, motels and inns

Jefferson is part of the Berlin, NH–VT Micropolitan Statistical Area


  • 1 History
  • 2 Geography
  • 3 Demographics
  • 4 Sites of interest
  • 5 Notable inhabitants
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links


Carter's Tower in 1906

Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth first made land grants in this area in 1765, but the location was so deep in unexplored territory that few settlers took up their claims So soon after the French and Indian War, in which certain Native American tribes in New England were allied with the French, English colonists did not want to be exposed on the frontier

Colonel Joseph Whipple took a grant and cut trails through the forests to build a "manor" house He named the town "Dartmouth" after William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, the patron of Dartmouth College Brother to William Whipple, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Colonel Whipple renamed the town "Jefferson" four years prior to Thomas Jefferson's election as president The state legislature granted the town a new charter as "Jefferson" in 1796

In the mid-19th century, the boundary with the adjacent township of Kilkenny was moved so as to include that township's few residents in Jefferson

The Waumbek c 1905 Cherry Mountain from the Waumbek Hotel, c 1910

In 1885, a landslide on the north side of Cherry Mountain demolished the Stanley farm, mortally wounding a worker Local hotels immediately arranged daily excursions to view the scene, now marked by a roadside historical marker See New Hampshire Historical Marker 152

Thaddeus S C Lowe, a local farm boy born in 1832, became a world-famous inventor of aerostats dirigibles and other devices Consulting President Abraham Lincoln, he organized a balloon corps during the Civil War, and went on to invent the ice-making machine, and later the water-gas process For years, the latter was used to fuel gas lights in hundreds of cities His father, Clovis Lowe, had been part owner in 1832 of nearby Low and Burbank's Grant, which contains much of Mount Adams and Mount Madison See New Hampshire Historical Marker 19

During the early 1900s, Jefferson was a popular summer resort, boasting one of the largest "grand hotels" in the White Mountains—the Waumbek, with accommodations for nearly 300 guests The hotel had its own rail branch, to deliver guests directly to the hotel from Boston and New York without changing trains It was destroyed by fire on May 9, 1928

At tourism's peak, Jefferson had over 30 inns and boarding houses, accessible by several mainline depots, including Riverton, Baileys, Meadows, and Highlands Some of the original station buildings remain, although most have been moved to nearby locations The tracks were removed in the 1920s The wider ownership of automobiles gave people more choices for vacation destinations, and the Great Depression reduced vacations for years By the end of this period, many people sought other venues than grand hotels

A number of historic, architecturally interesting structures remain from the resort era The Waumbek Cottages provided a backdrop for the popular White Mountains Festival of the Arts until 1979 In March 2006, the Waumbek Cottages Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places

In 1988 and 1989, Jefferson gained national attention when a local volunteer firefighter was charged and tried in connection with dozens of arson fires that had plagued the area The defendant was acquitted at trial2345


Presidential Range c 1905

Jefferson is located on US Route 2 between Lancaster and Randolph, near the midpoint between the Vermont and Maine borders Set astride the broad Israel River valley, the town commands remarkable views of the Presidential Range and other White Mountain summits Mount Starr King, with an elevation of 3,907 feet 1,191 m above sea level and named for Thomas Starr King, is the highest point in town, near the town's northern border It is regularly traversed by hikers scaling nearby 4,006-foot 1,221 m Mount Waumbek, one of the "four-thousand footers"—the 48 peaks above 4,000 feet 1,200 m in New Hampshire6 Jefferson lies fully within the Connecticut River watershed7

In the past few years, thousands of acres of Jefferson have been sold or donated by private interests to the White Mountain National Forest These include the Randolph Town Forest, a part of which is within the boundaries of Jefferson, the Silvio O Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, and Mount Starr King

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 504 square miles 131 km2, of which 502 sq mi 130 km2 is land and 02 sq mi 052 km2 is water, comprising 046% of the town


Historical population
1800 112
1810 197 759%
1820 252 279%
1830 492 952%
1840 575 169%
1850 629 94%
1860 700 113%
1870 826 180%
1880 951 151%
1890 1,062 117%
1900 1,080 17%
1910 1,061 −18%
1920 960 −95%
1930 771 −197%
1940 763 −10%
1950 728 −46%
1960 600 −176%
1970 714 190%
1980 803 125%
1990 965 202%
2000 1,006 42%
2010 1,107 100%
Est 2015 1,051 −51%
US Decennial Census9
Highland House c 1910

As of the census10 of 2000, there were 1,006 people, 407 households, and 295 families residing in the town The population density was 201 people per square mile 77/km² There were 582 housing units at an average density of 116 per square mile 45/km² The racial makeup of the town was 9831% White, 010% Native American, 010% Asian, 010% Pacific Islander, and 139% from two or more races Hispanic or Latino of any race were 010% of the population

There were 407 households out of which 280% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 624% were married couples living together, 52% had a female householder with no husband present, and 275% were non-families 204% of all households were made up of individuals and 69% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older The average household size was 247 and the average family size was 284

Pliny Range House in 1911

In the town, the population was spread out with 220% under the age of 18, 45% from 18 to 24, 272% from 25 to 44, 324% from 45 to 64, and 139% who were 65 years of age or older The median age was 43 years For every 100 females there were 1036 males For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 1050 males

The median income for a household in the town was $41,089, and the median income for a family was $42,067 Males had a median income of $27,130 versus $21,382 for females The per capita income for the town was $19,556 About 47% of families and 82% of the population were below the poverty line, including 120% of those under age 18 and 99% of those age 65 or over

Sites of interestedit

  • Jefferson Historical Museum, located in the former St John's Methodist church, on US Route 2, east of village center From June to October it is open free to the public on Thursday and Sunday afternoons
  • Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge

Notable inhabitantsedit

  • Thaddeus S C Lowe, scientist and inventor

See alsoedit

  • White Mountain art


  1. ^ United States Census Bureau, American FactFinder, 2010 Census figures Retrieved March 23, 2011
  2. ^ "Arsonist Taunts NH Town with 19th Fire", The Boston Globe, August 24, 1988
  3. ^ "Ex-Fireman Charged in NH Arson", The Boston Globe, October 13, 1988
  4. ^ "NH Man Cleared of Charge Related to Fire", The Boston Globe,April 8, 1989
  5. ^ "NH Jurors Acquit Man of Arson Wave", The Boston Globe, July 1, 1989
  6. ^ Gene Daniell and Jon Burroughs, ed, White Mountain Guide, 26th ed, Boston, Massachusetts, Appalachian Mountain Club, 1998
  7. ^ 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 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015" Archived from the original on June 2, 2016 Retrieved July 2, 2016 
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing" Censusgov Archived from the original on May 12, 2015 Retrieved June 4, 2016 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder" United States Census Bureau Retrieved 2008-01-31 
  • Julyan, Robert and Mary 1993 Place Names of the White Mountains Revised ed Hanover, NH: University Press of New England ISBN 0-87451-638-2 
  • Davis, Abner 1972 History of Coos County Republished facsimile of original In Jefferson CD-ROM 2002 from Jefferson Historical Society ed Somersworth, NH: New Hampshire Publishing Company pp 399–425 
  • Boston and Maine Railroad September 21, 1914 "Local Time Table, White Mountains Division" 
  • Tolles, Bryant F 2000 Summer Cottages in the White Mountains: The Architecture of Leisure and Recreation 1870 to 1930 Hanover: University Press of New England ISBN 0-87451-953-5 
  • Town of Jefferson 1995 Jefferson, New Hampshire: Before 1996 Littleton: Sherwin Dodge 

External linksedit

  • Town of Jefferson official website
  • New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau Profile
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