Concord, New Hampshire is the state capital of New Hampshire, a city of nearly 40,000 and a gateway to New Hampshire's White Mountain and Lakes Regions. The land which Concord now occupies along the banks of the Merrimack River was settled thousands of years ago by Abenaki Native Americans called the Penacook.
The broad sweeps of the river valley, fertile soil for farming, and easy transportation on the Merrimack made the site of Concord equally inviting to English-speaking colonists in the eighteenth century. Settled by immigrants from Massachusetts in 1725, the community grew in prominence during the colonial era. Some of Concord's earliest houses remain today at the north end of Main Street.
In the years following the American Revolution, the city's central location made it a logical choice for the state capital, and in 1808 Concord was named the official seat of state government. Today the 1819 State House is the oldest state capitol in which the legislative branches meet in their original chambers.
Concord's location also made it a hub for inland trade and commerce. One of the city's best-known industries was carriage manufacturing, and here world famous Concord coaches were built throughout the nineteenth century. Many surviving coaches remain on display at the Museum of New Hampshire History.
Furniture making and granite quarrying were also major local industries. The granite for the library of Congress in Washington, D.C. came from nearby Rattlesnake Hill, which to this day remains a major granite quarry. Because of Concord's central location, it became the northern hub of the railroad industry. For more than a century, scores of trains, headed in every direction, passed through the city daily.
Concord was also the home of the nation's fourteenth President, Franklin Pierce, and the Pierce Manse at the north end of Main Street is open to the public. A few miles northeast of Concord in Canterbury, members of an unusual and fascinating religious order settled in the 1790s. Today Canterbury Shaker Village is the premier museum of Shaker life. Concord was also the home of teacher-astronaut Christa McAuliffe. She is memorialized at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, the nation's most technologically sophisticated planetarium. Other sites of interest include the New Hampshire State House, which dates from 1818; the Eagle Hotel, which hosted several presidents during the 19th century; and the Walker-Woodman House (built ca. 1735), Concord's oldest free-standing house.
Centrally located, the city of Concord offers easy access to the scenic White Mountains, Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee and Lakes Regions, New Hampshire's gorgeous Atlantic Ocean coast, and the cultural and economic hub of Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to being the state capital, Concord is a center for health care in Northern New England and home to several major insurance companies today. Its neighborhoods and main street reflect almost 270 years of history. So please come and enjoy Concord's beautiful capitol, its historic downtown shopping area, parks and neighborhoods, as well as its magnificent setting on the bluffs of the Merrimack River. You'll be glad you came!
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