Harrisville, New Hampshire

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Harrisville is a town in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, United States. Besides the town center, it also includes the village of Chesham. The population of the town was 1,075 at the 2000 census. The 2009 population was estimated to be 1,102.[1]

Harrisville is a unique, preserved 19th-century mill town located in the Monadnock region of southern New Hampshire. There are nine bodies of water in the town, many back roads and trails to explore, and two original train depots at Harrisville and Chesham.

Contents

History

First known as Twitchell's Mills, a combination sawmill and gristmill was built here in 1774. Harrisville township was formed in 1870 from lands ceded by Marlborough, Dublin, Hancock, Nelson, and Roxbury. The Manchester & Keene Railroad opened in 1878, helping it prosper as a textile mill town.[2] It was named for Milan Harris, whose stone and brick Cheshire Mills operated until 1970, but look virtually unchanged since the mid-19th century.[3]

Today, the Cheshire Mills are protected as part of the Harrisville Historic District, a National Historic Landmark which includes the center of town. With its red brick buildings and mills reflected in Harrisville Pond and canal, the village is frequently photographed as an iconic example of picturesque old New England.[4] The Harrisville Rural District includes the southern part of the town near the Dublin border.

Town view c. 1905

Looking up canal in 1914

Cheshire Mills c. 1915

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 20.2 square miles (52 km2), of which 18.7 sq mi (48 km2) is land and 1.5 sq mi (3.9 km2) is water, comprising 7.46% of the town. The highest point in Harrisville is the summit of Cobb Hill, at 1,909 feet (582 m) above sea level. Roughly the western half of Harrisville, drained by Minnewawa Brook, lies within the Ashuelot River watershed, part of the Connecticut River basin, while the eastern half, drained by Nubanusit Brook, is in the Merrimack River watershed.[5] Significant lakes include Silver Lake, Seaver Reservoir, and Chesham Pond on the western side, and Harrisville Pond and Skatutakee Lake draining to the east.[6]

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