New Durham, New Hampshire

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New Durham is a town in Strafford County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 2,220 at the 2000 census. The 2009 population was estimated to be 2,586.[1] It is drained by the Merrymeeting and Ela rivers, and is known for Merrymeeting Lake. New Durham is home to the Powder Mill Fish Hatchery. Also located here is the Lions Club's Camp Pride, a camp for children and adults with special needs.



Granted by the Masonian Proprietors in 1749 as Cochecho Township, New Durham was settled in 1750 almost entirely by colonists from Durham. It would be incorporated as New Durham on December 7, 1762. With a somewhat uneven and rocky surface, the town was better suited to grazing than cultivation. Lumber became the chief article of trade, and by 1859 New Durham had five sawmills and four shingle mills. It also had two gristmills, and a gunpowder factory called the Eureka Powder Works. [2] On September 19, 1849, the Cochecho Railroad opened through the town, connecting Dover with Alton Bay. [3]

An early town minister, Reverend Benjamin Randall, founded a new religious denomination in 1780 called the Free Will Baptists, later known as Free Baptists. The church has two buildings in the community, the older built in 1819 on New Durham Ridge. [2]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 44.2 square miles (114 km2), of which 41.7 sq mi (108 km2) is land and 2.5 sq mi (6.5 km2) is water, comprising 5.57% of the town. It is drained by the Ela River, Merrymeeting River and the Cochecho River. New Durham's highest point is 1,700 feet (520 m) above sea level, on the western slope of Copple Crown Mountain, along the town's eastern border. The mountain's 1,868-foot (569 m) summit is in the neighboring town of Brookfield.

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