Jefferson, New Hampshire

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Jefferson is a town in Coos County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,006 at the 2000 census. The 2009 population was estimated to be 1,104.[1] It is home to parts of the White Mountain National Forest in the south and northeast and to two theme parks: Santa's Village and Six Gun City. There are also several private campgrounds, motels and inns.

Jefferson is part of the Berlin, NH–VT Micropolitan Statistical Area.



First granted in 1765 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth, the location was so deep in unexplored territory that few took up their claims. One who did was Colonel Joseph Whipple, who cut trails through the forests to build a manor house. He named the town "Dartmouth" after William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth and patron of Dartmouth College. Brother to William Whipple, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Colonel Whipple renamed the town "Jefferson" four years prior to Thomas Jefferson's election as president. The legislature would grant the town a new charter as "Jefferson" in 1796. Over the years, the boundary with the adjacent township of Kilkenny has been moved significantly several times, divorcing all habitations from Kilkenny jurisdiction.

During the early 1900s, Jefferson was a popular summer resort, boasting one of the five largest "Grand Hotels" in the White Mountains -- the Waumbek, with accommodations for nearly 600 guests, was destroyed by fire on May 9, 1928. The hotel maintained its own rail branch, delivering visitors directly to the hotel without changing trains.

In 1914, Jefferson was serviced by multiple daily trains from Boston and New York City. It had over 30 hotels at its tourism peak, reached by several mainline depots including Riverton, Baileys, Meadows, and Highlands. Many of the original station buildings remain, although most have been moved to nearby locations. The tracks were removed in the 1970s, leaving a basis for a "Rails to Trails" project. A number of historic, architecturally interesting structures remain from the resort era, and the Waumbek Cottages provided a backdrop for the popular White Mountains Festival of the Arts until 1979. In March 2006, the Waumbek Cottages Historic District was named to the National Register.

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