Canaan, New Hampshire

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Canaan, New Hampshire
Town
Church Street in 1907

Seal
Motto: "Land of Milk and Honey"
Location in Grafton County, New Hampshire
Coordinates: 43°38′48″N 72°00′37″W / 43.64667°N 72.01028°W / 43.64667; -72.01028Coordinates: 43°38′48″N 72°00′37″W / 43.64667°N 72.01028°W / 43.64667; -72.01028
CountryUnited States
StateNew Hampshire
CountyGrafton
Incorporated1761
Government
 • Board of SelectmenBob Reagan, Chairman
Scott Borthwick
David McAlister
Area
 • Total55.0 sq mi (142.5 km2)
 • Land53.2 sq mi (137.8 km2)
 • Water1.8 sq mi (4.7 km2)  3.31%
Elevation945 ft (288 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total3,909
 • Density71/sq mi (27/km2)
Time zoneEastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code03741
Area code(s)603
FIPS code33-08980
GNIS feature ID0873557
Websitewww.canaannh.org
 
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Canaan, New Hampshire
Town
Church Street in 1907

Seal
Motto: "Land of Milk and Honey"
Location in Grafton County, New Hampshire
Coordinates: 43°38′48″N 72°00′37″W / 43.64667°N 72.01028°W / 43.64667; -72.01028Coordinates: 43°38′48″N 72°00′37″W / 43.64667°N 72.01028°W / 43.64667; -72.01028
CountryUnited States
StateNew Hampshire
CountyGrafton
Incorporated1761
Government
 • Board of SelectmenBob Reagan, Chairman
Scott Borthwick
David McAlister
Area
 • Total55.0 sq mi (142.5 km2)
 • Land53.2 sq mi (137.8 km2)
 • Water1.8 sq mi (4.7 km2)  3.31%
Elevation945 ft (288 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total3,909
 • Density71/sq mi (27/km2)
Time zoneEastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code03741
Area code(s)603
FIPS code33-08980
GNIS feature ID0873557
Websitewww.canaannh.org

Canaan is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 3,909 at the 2010 census.[1] It is the location of Mascoma State Forest. Canaan is home to the Cardigan Mountain School, the town's largest employer.

The main village of the town, where 524 people resided at the 2010 census,[2] is defined as the Canaan census-designated place (CDP), and is located at the junction of U.S. Route 4 with New Hampshire Route 118.

History[edit]

Chartered in 1761 by Governor Benning Wentworth, the town was named after the hometown of many early settlers, Canaan, Connecticut, which had been named for the biblical land of Canaan. It was settled in the winter of 1766-1767 by John Scofield, who arrived with all his belongings on a hand sled. With many rocks in the soil, the land made agriculture difficult and farming was poor. The town constructed a broad road for its main street on a stretch of level land.[3]

The Northern Railroad (predecessor of the Boston & Maine Railroad) was constructed to the town in 1847, spurring development. Water powered mills were built on the streams. By 1859, when the population was 1,682, Canaan had one gristmill, three lath and clapboard mills, and one tannery.[4]

In 1828 George Kimball built the Congregational Church. He was among New England abolitionists who founded the Noyes Academy in March 1835, intended to admit students of all races. It opened with 28 white and 14 black students. Opposing interracial education, on August 10, 1835, hundreds of white men from Canaan and nearby towns used "nearly 100 yoke of oxen," to pull the building off its foundation. They burned it. Fearing for their safety, the black students left town.[3]

The Canaan Union Academy was built on the site. Limited to white students, it operated for about 20 years.Later a station of the Underground Railroad was located here.[3]

Canaan was the site of a famous train wreck on September 15, 1907. Four miles north of Canaan Station, the southbound Quebec to Boston express, crowded with passengers returning from the Sherbrooke Fair, collided head-on with a northbound Boston & Maine freight train. Twenty-five people died, and an equal number were seriously injured. The accident was "due to a mistake in train dispatcher's orders." [5]

On June 2, 1923, the Great Canaan Fire burned 48 homes and businesses, destroying the heart of Canaan Village (East Canaan).

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 55.0 square miles (142 km2), of which 53.2 sq mi (138 km2) is land and 1.8 sq mi (4.7 km2) is water, comprising 3.31% of the town.[1] Canaan is drained by the Indian River and Mascoma River. Canaan Street Lake is in the center, and Goose Pond is in the northwest.

The town center lies in the valley of the Indian River (a tributary of the Mascoma River) at the base of Mount Cardigan, which lies to the east in the neighboring town of Orange. A mountain road leads from Canaan to a trailhead in Cardigan Mountain State Forest, where hiking trails on the west slope of the mountain lead to the bare-rock summit. The highest point in Canaan is the top of an unnamed ridge (approximately 2,270 feet (690 m) above sea level) in the northeast corner of town, overlooking Derby Pond.

Canaan lies almost fully within the Connecticut River watershed except for a tiny part of the northeast of the town, which is in the Merrimack River watershed.[6]

The town is crossed by U.S. Route 4 and New Hampshire Route 118.

Demographics[edit]

1907 Canaan train wreck

As of the census[7] of 2010, there were 3,909 people, 1,588 households, and 1,105 families residing in the town. The population density was 73.5 people per square mile (28.4/km²). There were 1,930 housing units at an average density of 36.3 per square mile (14.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.1% White, 0.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.2% some other race, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.[8]

There were 1,588 households, of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% were headed by married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.4% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.6% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42, and the average family size was 2.81.[8]

View of the Canaan Fair c. 1906

In the town, the population was spread out with 20.9% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 33.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.6 years. For every 100 females there were 99.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.3 males.[8]

For the period 2007-2011, the estimated median annual income for a household in the town was $62,226, and the median income for a family was $63,930. Male full-time workers had a median income of $46,250 versus $37,287 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,964. About 4.5% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.7% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.[9]

Sites of interest[edit]

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Canaan town, Grafton County, New Hampshire". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Canaan CDP, New Hampshire". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Child, Hamilton (1886). Gazetteer of Grafton County, N. H. 1709-1886. Syracuse, New York. pp. 216–235. 
  4. ^ Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts. p. 432. 
  5. ^ Canaan, NH Train Wreck of 1907
  6. ^ Foster, Debra H.; Batorfalvy, Tatianna N.; and Medalie, Laura (1995). Water Use in New Hampshire: An Activities Guide for Teachers. U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Geological Survey. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^ a b c "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Canaan town, Grafton County, New Hampshire". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics: 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates (DP03): Canaan town, Grafton County, New Hampshire". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 

External links[edit]