Salem, New Hampshire

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Salem is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 28,112 at the 2000 census. The 2009 population was estimated to be 29,640.[1] Salem is a marketing and distributing center north of Boston, with a major amusement attraction, Canobie Lake Park, and a large shopping mall, the Mall at Rockingham Park.



The area was first settled in 1652. As early as 1736, Salem was the "North Parish" of Methuen, Massachusetts, or "Methuen District." In 1741, when the boundary line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire was re-established, the "North Parish" became part of New Hampshire, and was given the name "Salem," taken from nearby Salem, Massachusetts. It was incorporated in 1750 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth.

In 1902, Canobie Lake Park was established in Salem by the Massachusetts Northeast Street Railway Company, to encourage leisure excursions on its trolleys. The plan was successful, and the enterprise quickly became one of the leading resorts of its type in New England. Crowds arrived from all over, including the nearby mill towns of Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell and Methuen in Massachusetts, and Manchester and Nashua in New Hampshire. Factory workers and others found respite strolling along tree-lined promenades, between flower-beds or beside the lake. Rides, arcades and a dance hall provided lively entertainments. The rise of the automobile, however, brought the decline of the trolley. But Canobie Lake Park, one of the few former street railway amusement resorts still in existence, continues to be popular.[2]

Other features of Salem's tourism history include Rockingham Park Race Track, the first horse race track in New England, and "America's Stonehenge", a curiosity (formerly "Mystery Hill"). A recent attraction in town is the Icenter, a skating arena.

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