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Charlestown Town

Charlestown administrative offices are located at 216 Main Street, Charlestown, NH 03603; phone: 603-826-4400.

Beginnings [1]

Starting with its early importance as the northernmost fort in the Connecticut River Valley, Charlestown exerted a more extensive influence than any other town in the region during the 18th century. During the 19th century Charlestown was reportedly one of the most important law centers in New England next to Boston and Manchester, NH. Regional importance translated into a wealth of architecturally significant structures including the more than sixty structures along Main Street included in this district which date from ca. 1750-1924. The district combines residential, civic, commercial and religious structures, representing the work of prominent architects of the day as well as relatively unknown master builders. Nearly all are fine examples of their representative styles.

Charlestown was chartered by Massachusetts in 1735 with the town plot laid out in 1737 and first settlers arriving in 1740. A frontier town for twenty years beginning in the 1740's, it was part of a cordon of forts protecting the region including Chesterfield, Westwood, Walpole and Charlestown. The fort itself, measuring 3/4 of and acre, was constructed in 1743 on the west side of lower Main Street. Because it was for many years the northernmost outpost in the Connecticut Valley, Charlestown's position early on was enhanced by its role as a trading center for the surrounding countryside and a gateway to northern settlements. The township was chartered by New Hampshire in 1753 as Charlestown.

  1. Lisa Mausolf, Historic Preservation Specialist, Upper Valley-Lake Sunapee Council, Charlestown Main Street Historic District, Sullivan County, New Hampshire, nomination document, 1986, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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