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Goffstown, New Hampshire

Goffstown, New Hampshire
Official seal of Goffstown, New Hampshire
Location in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
Location in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Hillsborough
Incorporated 1761
 • Board of Selectmen Peter Georgantas, Chair
Mark Lemay
Collis Adams
John "Allen" Brown
Scott Gross
 • Town Administrator Susan Desruisseaux
 • Total 37.5 sq mi (97.2 km2)
 • Land 36.9 sq mi (95.5 km2)
 • Water 0.6 sq mi (1.6 km2)  1.65%
Elevation 308 ft (94 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 17,651
Time zone EST (UTC-05)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-04) (UTC)
ZIP code 03045
Area code(s) 603
FIPS code 33-29860
GNIS feature ID 0873606
Website .com.goffstownwww

Goffstown is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 17,651 at the 2010 census.[1] The compact center of town, where 3,196 people resided at the 2010 census,[1] is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as the Goffstown census-designated place and is located at the junction of New Hampshire routes 114 and 13. Goffstown also includes the villages of Grasmere and Pinardville. The town is home to Saint Anselm College (and its New Hampshire Institute of Politics) and the New Hampshire State Prison for Women.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Neighboring cities and towns 2.1
  • Demographics 3
  • Law and government 4
  • Education 5
    • Primary and secondary 5.1
    • Post-secondary 5.2
  • Notable natives and residents 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Main Street in 1887
The Uncanoonuc Hotel in 1910

Prior to the arrival of English colonists, the area had been inhabited for thousands of years by succeeding cultures of Native Americans; its waterways had numerous fish and the area had game.[2]

The town was first granted as "Narragansett No. 4" in 1734 by New Hampshire and Massachusetts Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher as a Massachusetts township (the area then being disputed between the two provinces). It was one of seven townships intended for soldiers (or their heirs) who had fought in the "Narragansett War" of 1675, also known as King Philip's War. In 1735, however, some grantees "found it so poor and barren as to be altogether incapable of making settlements," and were instead granted a tract in Greenwich, Massachusetts.

The community would be called "Piscataquog Village" and "Shovestown" before being regranted by Masonian proprietor Governor Benning Wentworth in 1748 to new settlers. These included Rev. Thomas Parker of Dracut and Colonel John Goffe, for whom the town was named. He was for several years a resident of Bedford, and the first judge of probate in the county of Hillsborough. Goffstown was incorporated June 16, 1761.[2] A large part of the town was originally covered with valuable timber. Lumbering and fishing were the main occupations of the early settlers.[2] The village of Grasmere was named for Grasmere, England, home of the poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

A David L. Morril, who began March 3, 1802. He was supported by both congregations under the name of the Congregational Presbyterian church. Morril was elected as a representative of the town to the state house, as a US Senator for the state, and in 1824, as governor of the state, serving until 1827.[2]

The Piscataquog River, which bisects the main village of Goffstown and was spanned by a covered bridge, provided water power for industry. In 1817, Goffstown had 20 sawmills, seven grain mills, two textile mills, two carding machines, and a cotton factory. Its textile industry was an example of the economic ties between New England and the American South, which was dependent on slave labor for production of its lucrative cotton commodity crop.

The town was described in 1859 by the following:[2]

The surface is comparatively level, the only elevations of note being two in the southwest part, called by the natives Uncanoonuck. There are considerable tracts of valuable interval[e], as well as extensive plains, which are generally productive. Piscataquog river is the principal stream, which furnishes quite a number of valuable mill privileges. It passes through in a central direction. Large quantities of lumber were formerly floated down this stream to the Merrimack, and the forests at one time supplied a large number of masts for the English navy. The New Hampshire Central Railroad passes through Goffstown. Then; are three villages — Goffstown, Goffstown Centre, and Parker's Mills; three church edifices — Baptist, Congregational, and Methodist; sixteen school districts; and two post-offices — Goffstown and Goffstown Centre : also, four stores, four saw-mills, two grist-mills, and one sash and blind factory. Population, 2,270; valuation, $599,615.
— A History and Description of New England, General and Local

In 1816, the Religious Union society was organized. A new meetinghouse was erected in the west village. Meetings were held two thirds of the time in the new house, and one third in the old house at the center.[2]

Incline Railway c. 1914

In 1818-19 residents were deeply interested in the preaching of Rev. Abel Manning, as part of the Second Great Awakening. Sixty-five persons joined the church that year. Other ministers were Rev. Benjamin H. Pitman (1820 to 1825); Rev. Henry Wood (1826 to 1831); and Rev. Isaac Willey (1837 to 1853). A Baptist church was formed in 1820.[2]

The town annexed islands on the Amoskeag Falls in the Merrimack Riverin 1825 and part of New Boston in 1836.[2]

In the early part of 1841, a female commenced preaching here, and shortly more than half the voters in town came into her support. She professed no connection with any church. The excitement created by her preaching, however, soon died out, the result of it being the organization of the existing Methodist church.[2]

The Uncanoonuc Mountains in Goffstown once featured the Uncanoonuc Incline Railway, founded in 1903. It first carried tourists in 1907 to the summit of the south peak, on which was built that year the Uncanoonuc Hotel. The 5½ story building provided 37-38 guest rooms, and a dining room that accommodated 120. It also offered outstanding views of the surrounding valley, including Manchester, connected by electric trolley to the railway's base station. The hotel would burn in 1923, and the train was later used to transport skiers to the top. The railway peaked during the 1930s and 1940s, but was essentially abandoned by the 1950s. The summit of the south peak is now the site of numerous television and radio towers.

Grasmere Village straddles the Piscataquog River in the eastern region of Goffstown. The Hillsborough County Railroad Station was located at Grasmere on the southern side of the river. Rail-borne freight for Grasmere and other surrounding locales was delivered to this station during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Another rail station in Goffstown was located to the west closer to the town center, and a third was Parker's Station to the west of the town center.[3]

In 1981, rail service through the town ceased during widespread restructuring of railroads, which suffered due to competition with trucking. In the dawning years of the twenty-first century, town and local organizations cooperated in a rails-to-trails effort; they completed conversion of the railbeds into bicycling and walking trails.

The County Farm grounds were converted to the New Hampshire State Prison for Women (currently located at 317 Mast Road). The facility's most famous resident was the convicted murderess Pamela Smart, who was incarcerated at the Prison for Women from March 22, 1991 to March 11, 1993. She was transferred to Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford, New York.


Westlawn Cemetery in Goffstown

Goffstown is located in the eastern part of Hillsborough County, directly to the west of Manchester, the state's largest city. Concord, the state capital, lies 16 miles (26 km) to the north. The town center is on the Piscataquog River near the western boundary of the town, around the intersection of New Hampshire Route 13 and 114. The village of Grasmere is located in the eastern part of town, and the neighborhood of Pinardville is located in the southeast corner of the town, essentially forming a continuous development with the adjoining city of Manchester.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 37.5 square miles (97 km2), of which 36.9 sq mi (96 km2) is land and 0.6 sq mi (1.6 km2) is water, comprising 1.65% of the town. The Uncanoonuc Mountains (uhn-kuh-NOO-nuhk) are twin peaks. The north peak, the highest point in Goffstown, has an elevation of 1,324 feet (404 m) above sea level, and the south peak has an elevation of 1,321 feet (403 m). The town's climate is classified as a Dfa or Dfb on the Köppen climate classification charts.

Goffstown is drained by the Piscataquog River and lies fully within the Merrimack River watershed.[4]

Neighboring cities and towns


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 16,929 people, 5,641 households, and 4,055 families residing in the town. The population density was 458.9 people per square mile (177.2/km²). There were 5,798 housing units at an average density of 157.2 per square mile (60.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.20% White, 0.25% African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 0.66% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.

There were 5,641 households out of which 35.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.5% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.1% were non-families. 20.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.7% under the age of 18, 15.2% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $55,833, and the median income for a family was $61,718. Males had a median income of $39,757 versus $30,000 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,907. About 2.6% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.3% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.

Law and government

Goffstown is governed by a five-member Board of Selectmen elected in the March general election to serve three-year staggered terms.

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections operates the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown.

The United States Postal Service operates the Goffstown Post Office.[6]


Goffstown is part of School Administrative Unit 19, serving Goffstown, Dunbarton and New Boston.

Primary and secondary

Main entrance to Maple Avenue Elementary School
  • Goffstown has one kindergarten, Glen Lake School.
  • Goffstown has two first through fourth grade elementary schools, Bartlett and Maple Avenue.
  • Mountain View Middle School serves Goffstown students in fifth through eighth grade, and seventh and eighth grade New Boston and Dunbarton students.
  • Ninth through twelfth grade students from Goffstown, New Boston and Dunbarton attend Goffstown High School.
  • The Villa Augustina School was an independent Catholic school founded in Goffstown in 1918. The school served children in pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade. As of 2014, it is now closed.[7]


Alumni Hall at Saint Anselm College
  • Saint Anselm College is a Benedictine, Catholic liberal arts college. The college has received significant national media attention in recent years; the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College brings hundreds of dignitaries and politicians to Goffstown annually, most notably for the New Hampshire primary presidential debates, which have been held at the college since 2004.

Notable natives and residents


  1. ^ a b United States Census Bureau, American FactFinder, 2010 Census figures. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Post Office Location - GOFFSTOWN." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on November 18, 2010.
  7. ^

External links

  • Town of Goffstown official website
  • Goffstown Public Library
  • Goffstown Historical Society
  • Town records 1890–1900 online at
  • New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau Profile
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