Strafford, New Hampshire

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Strafford is a town in Strafford County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 3,626 at the 2000 census. The 2009 population was estimated to be 4,011.[1] Strafford includes the villages of Center Strafford and Bow Lake.

Contents

History

Once part of Barrington, Strafford was set off due to the lengthy travel required to attend town meetings. Settled prior to the Revolution, the town incorporated in 1820, taking its name from the county in which it is located. Strafford County had been organized in 1773 during the administration of Colonial Governor John Wentworth, and named in honor of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford.

The Bow Lake Grange Hall, originally built in 1829 as a steam-operated mill, is now maintained by the Bow Lake Community Club and home to The Lakeside Players, a theatre group.

The Austin Academy once stood in the center of Strafford village. George Cate, a wealthy shoe manufacturer, visited the school at the request of its principal Alvin E. Thomas and was so impressed with the school that he left at his death $200,000 on the condition that his name be added to that of Mr. Austin. After his death the hundred-acre farm of George Washington Foss was purchased and soon a beautiful new building, designed by well-known Boston architect, Richardson, sat on the hill with the name on its facade, "Austin-Cate Academy - 1903". After the property was purchased by the state for a National Guard training center, all of the original wooden buildings were torn down and replaced by new brick buildings.

Notable inhabitants

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 51.4 square miles (133 km2), of which 49.2 sq mi (127 km2) is land and 2.2 sq mi (5.7 km2) is water, comprising 4.38% of the town. Bow Lake, popular with fishermen, covers 1,160 acres (470 ha). Strafford is drained by the Isinglass, Big, and Berrys rivers.

The Blue Hills Range divides the town in half, running southwest to northeast. Parker Mountain, the highest point in the range and in Strafford, rises to 1,420 feet (430 m) above sea level.

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