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Area History

Google Maps Library of Congress Claremont Historic Walking Tour

"CLAREMONT (Settled 1762; 1990 population: 13905). Named by Gov Benning Wentworth to honor his cousin, Lord Clare, whose English estate in Surrey was named Claremont Castle. Sullivan County's only city, Claremont was first settled by Moses Spafford and David Lynde, two Connecticut grantees. The oldest areas are west of downtown Claremont whose early development was tied to the water power potential of the Sugar River and along which textile, paper and machinery mills were built, many of which remain today.

The river--its total fall through the town is 250 feet--flows from Lake Sunapee emptying into the Connecticut at West Claremont. Although Claremont is best known for its industrial heritage, in the mid-1800s it enjoyed the reputation of being the best farming town in New Hampshire."

The above information was taken from the Trail 6 website which can be found by clicking here.

The following is an excerpt from an Independent Study Project written by Charles John Emond and used with the permission of the author. The project title is From Farm to Factory and it was originally submitted to Professor Bisson at Keene State College on March 11, 1991. Pages 11 through 13 are included below. The complete document can be viewed at the Fiske Free Library.

"As a largely rural and agricultural community, throughout the 1860's and 1870's, the prosperity of the farms in the area impressed many a visitor. 'Many of the farms, in this favored town,' writes one visitor in 1880, 'have been held in the same family for generations. Well-tilled fields, good fences, picturesque outbuildings, and substantial homesteads maintain the claim for Claremont of having the choicest farms in the states.'

The village itself is described as having stately homes and mansions along its tree lined streets. It had several well-designed and attractive churches and a commercial center of two and three story blocks along Pleasant Street, mainly on the eastern side, and around Tremont Square. The usual assortment of businesses, from the ornate building of the Claremont National Bank, to the Belmont Hotel and the Boston Store on the Haywood Block, to the Sing Lee Chinese Laundry on Tremont Street, to the drug store on the corner of the square, gave the downtown a substantial and prosperous look.

With a population holding steady at around 4,000 for the decades between 1850 and 1880, the town had stabilized its economic growth and expansion and in both of these had proceeded slowly. But along with the tremendous success of the factories, and the resulting influx of more and more mill workers, the rapid expansion that began in the 1880's produced a building boom the results of which still define the shape of Claremont today. Within the 25 year period between 1880 and 1905, Claremont's population almost doubled to over 7,000.

Within the fifteen years, from 1890 to 1905, many of the major buildings were constructed. The present Opera House/Town Hall was completed in 1897. The Hotel Claremont, which stretches majestically along the northern side of Tremont Square was built in 1892. The Fiske Free Library was built in 1903, the Hunton Block in 1893, and the Hunton Block on Sullivan Street in 1899. Given the expansion going on at all the Mills and the building of tenement housing and private homes for the increase in population, Claremont experienced a building boom which changed its appearance almost overnight."

The information on this page will be periodically updated and changed in order to capture the diverse aspects of Claremont’s history.