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Littleton Town

Littleton Town Hall is located at 125 Main Street, Littleton, NH 03561; phone: 603-444-3996.

Beginnings [1]

Among the New Hampshire charters granted by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth, was one for a northern wilderness area he called Chiswick, after an ancient parish on the north bank of the Thames River in London. This charter, granted in 1764, lapsed for lack of activity and was succeeded by another in 1770 for Apthorp, granted by Governor John Wentworth, bearing the name of George Apthorp, a London merchant. Apparently not interested in the 400-acre tract given to him, Apthorp never bothered to pay the taxes on it. In 1773 Apthorp had a total population of fourteen, and in 1782 only "nine polls were counted."

The Town made little progress during its first ten years of existence. The first Town Meeting was held on July 19, 1787. Robert Charlton, the first schoolmaster, was elected Town Clerk, and for the first time Littleton could be called a municipality. The foundation for the modern village was laid in 1797 when Soloman Mann erected a sawmill and a gristmill at the Ammonoosuc Falls, just below the present Cottage Street Bridge.

The Town had at least one natural advantage, a favorable crossroads location. With the arrival of the steam locomotive in August of 1853 and improvement of local transportation routes, Littleton moved from an agricultural to a manufacturing based economy. The development of the Town as a mercantile center, growth in the population and expansion of the tourist industry established Littleton's place as a regional commercial center in northern New Hampshire during the mid-1800's.

In 1894 the voters decided to purchase the lot at the corner of Main and Cottage Streets to erect the Town's Municipal Building. The building still stands today much as it did in 1894 accommodating the Police Department, Historical Society Museum, and the Opera House which still attracts community functions.

As in all prosperous communities, Littleton attracted a variety of socio-economic classes of people. The mixture of people brought to Littleton the leaders, the workers, and the social reformers who actively fought for change and the future development of the Town. This spirit makes Littleton a community responsive to the pressures of change.

  1. Town of Littleton Master Plan, Historic and Cultural Resources, Chapter 5, 2004,, accessed June, 2011.
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