New Hampshire Facts



Published: 07 Apr 2022

New Hampshire welcome sign, New Hampshire facts

New Hampshire stood as one of the original 13 colonies that revolted against British rule in 1774. Later on, they became the first state to form their own government and join the Union. Learn more about this amazing state with these 50 New Hampshire facts.

  1. New Hampshire covers an area of over 24,000 km².
  2. On average the state stands around 300 meters above sea level.
  3. At its lowest point along the Atlantic coast, the state stands at sea level itself.
  4. An estimated 1.38 million people live in New Hampshire today.
  5. This gives it an estimated population density of 57 people for every km².
  1. Native Americans lived in what would become New Hampshire long before the coming of Europeans.
  2. The English and the French first arrived in the region in the early-17th century.
  3. At that time, they founded the first permanent European settlement in the region, Hilton’s Point, modern Dover.
  4. The early-17th century would see Father Rale’s War break out between the European colonists and the Native Americans.
  5. New Hampshire would also become one of the original 13 colonies that revolted against British rule during the American Revolution.
  6. The state became a stronghold for the abolition movement in the early-19th century.
  7. New Hampshire became one of the first states to support the Union during the American Civil War.
  8. Industry boomed in the state during the late-19th and early-20th centuries.
  9. The booming economy drew many immigrants to New Hampshire at the time.
  10. New Hampshire strengthened its economic ties with Massachusetts after WWII.
  1. The state has the nicknames of the Granite State and the White Mountain State.
  2. It falls in the USA’s Eastern time zone, or GMT-5.
  3. The state became the 9th to ratify the US Constitution, and thus the 9th State to join the Union.
  4. Manchester makes up New Hampshire’s biggest city, but it keeps its capital at Concord.
  5. It also shares the Greater Boston Metropolitan Area with neighboring Massachusetts.
Table of Contents

New Hampshire has its own anthem.

It’s called Old New Hampshire, with the lyrics first written by Dr. John Holmes in 1926. Later that same year, the composer Maurice Hoffman composed a musical accompaniment for the lyrics. Ironically, New Hampshire’s General Court actually blocked the song’s declaration as the state song in 1941.

Then in 1943, the General Court again stopped a potential way for the song to become the state song. It did this by killing a bill in the state legislature to hold a public contest and a cash prize for the public to pick a state song. It wasn’t until 1949 when the General Court finally agreed to name Old New Hampshire as the state song. Other honorary state songs followed in the succeeding decades, with Old New Hampshire getting a second vote in 1977.

It also has various state icons.

For starters, New Hampshire has the red-spotted newt as its state amphibian, with the purple finch as the state bird. It also has the Karner blue as the state butterfly, the chinook as the state dog, and the purple lilac as the state flower.

For fish, New Hampshire has two state fishes, one freshwater, and one marine. The brook trout makes up the state’s freshwater fish, and the striped bass its marine fish.

New Hampshire also considers the ladybug as its state insect, the white-tailed deer as its state mammal, and the white birch as the state tree. Other state icons include the pumpkin as the state fruit, the white potato as the state vegetable, and the blackberry as the state berry.

New Hampshire has a unique geography.

For one thing, the state has the shortest ocean coastline of any of the US states, at only 29 km. Some sources even claim discrepancies, leading to even shorter measurements of 21 km of the ocean coast.

The White Mountains also run through the north-central part of New Hampshire. These mountains commonly endure hurricane-force winds, and lack heavy tree cover to break up the wind. It has a reputation for having some of the worst weather in the world, causing hikers to lose their lives in the mountains.

Various rivers also run through the state, such as the Merrimack River, and the Connecticut River. The latter flows south from Lake Connecticut, ironically located in New Hampshire, before arriving in the state of Connecticut. The Connecticut River also defines New Hampshire’s western border, along the state of Vermont’s eastern border.

Mount Washington stands in New Hampshire.

It stands as the tallest mountain in the entire state, at 1.92 km high. It also makes up part of what’s called the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, from how they all have the names of former US Presidents.

Mount Washington also has an infamous reputation for bad weather, with wind speeds of over 300 kph. This actually gives it the strongest recorded winds in the USA outside of tornadoes or hurricanes. Despite the bad weather, hikers regularly visit the mountain, which makes up part of the Appalachian Trail.

A railroad also passes over the mountain’s western slopes, the Mount Washington Cog Railway. The Mount Washington Auto Road similarly passes over the mountain’s eastern slopes.

The Old Man of the Mountain also once stood in New Hampshire.

Five granite ledges made up the human face on Cannon Mountain, near the town of Franconia. When viewed from the north, the ledges appeared to form the outline of an old man’s face. Located 370 meters above Profile Lake, it had a length of 12 meters and a width of 8 meters.

Its first recorded sighting goes back to 1805, and it quickly became a tourist attraction and a cultural icon for the state. Unfortunately, erosion caused the Old Man of the Mountain to collapse in 2003.

This led to a proposal to rebuild the formation, but the proposal faced opposition from the state government and other organizations. However, profiles of the Old Man of the Mountain continue to appear on license plates and other places across New Hampshire.

Old Man of the Mountain commemorative coin and stamp
Image from Adobe Stock

Lake Winnipesaukee makes up the largest lake in New Hampshire.

The lake lies in the Lakes Region of the state, at the base of the White Mountains. It covers an area of 180 km², with a length of 34 km and a width of 15 km. At its deepest point, the lake has a depth of 55 meters.

The lake takes its name from the Winnipesaukee people, a subtribe of the greater Pennacook Native Americans. They used to have a village at the lake, Acquadocton, but known today as the Weirs, from the fishing weirs that caught the attention of the European colonists when they first arrived. The lake itself goes back to the last Ice Age, with its water originally a remnant of the glaciers of that time.

Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire enjoys fame of its own.

It gives its name to the geographic phenomenon monadnock, where a mountain rises as erosion exposes a resistant formation out of the surrounding landscape. Mount Monadnock itself stands as an example of this phenomenon.

Located between the towns of Jaffrey and Dublin, Mount Monadnock has a height of 966 meters. It also has the distinction of one of the most climbed mountains in the world. Another distinct feature of the mountain is its bare upper slopes. This was caused by a wildfire between 1810 and 1820, which started when farmers tried to clear the mountain’s forest. Instead, the fire went out of control, destroying the topsoil and leaving it unable to support plant life.

The Appalachian Trail passes through the state.

In fact, an estimated 259 km of the trail passes through New Hampshire. Most of the state’s share lies along the White Mountains, with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy noting that New Hampshire has more of the trail above the treeline compared to any other state. It also makes for some of the most difficult parts of the trail, especially when passing over Mount Washington. As we’ve previously mentioned, Mount Washington has a reputation for especially bad weather. Other notable peaks on the trail include Mount Pierce further north of Mount Washington, and Mount Madison, which marks the northern end of the trail in New Hampshire.

Various nature reserves stand in New Hampshire.

The White Mountain National Forest is the most famous in the state, as it includes the Presidential Range along with most of the White Mountains within its bounds. New Hampshire’s share of the Appalachian Trail also passes through the national forest.

Other reserves include the Great Bay National Wildlife Reserve, lying around the town of Newington in New Hampshire’s Great Bay. The reserve opened in 1992, a year after the closure of Pease Air Force Base. The area once served as weapons storage for the US Air Force. Today, the reserve provides a home to various species such as the bald eagle, beavers, otters, porcupines, and even turkeys.

Autumn foliage at White Mountain national Forest
Image from Adobe Stock

New Hampshire has quarreled with Maine over their shared borders.

The quarrel concerns Seavey’s Island on the Piscataqua River. Five separate islands once made up the island, which formed between 1800 and 1866 as part of large-scale land reclamation efforts. Today, it serves as the location of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which builds and repairs many of the US Navy’s nuclear submarines.

The dispute erupted over Maine’s collection of income taxes from workers in the shipyard, many of whom live in New Hampshire. This led New Hampshire to accuse Maine of taxation without representation in 1977. Decades of legal cases followed, only resolved in 2000 by the US Supreme Court in Maine’s favor.

New Hampshire enjoys a humid and continental climate.

This gives the state warm and humid summers, but also cold and snowy winters. Rainfall stays balanced across the state and over the year, with an average of around one meter of rain and snow falling on New Hampshire every year.

Temperatures average between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius in the summer and between 0 and -15 degrees Celsius in winter. This, however, only applies to the lowlands, with the mountains having their own temperature values. There, temperatures can reach as low as -44 degrees Celsius in winter, and never higher than 13 degrees Celsius in the summer. The northern parts of the state may also experience unusual lows of up to -18 degrees Celsius in winter.

One of the first battles during the American Revolution took place in the state.

Specifically, the Capture of Fort William and Mary, known today as Fort Constitution. Originally built by the British as part of British North America’s defenses, it became a target for American Patriots at the start of the revolution.

Led by John Langdon, patriots from Portsmouth stormed the fort on December 14, 1774. Manned only by 6 caretakers, the fort fell quickly, with the patriots seizing the gunpowder stored inside. They then distributed the gunpowder to the militias from surrounding towns.

On the following day, December 15, more patriots led by John Sullivan arrived and seized the cannons from the fort. This marked not only one of the earliest battles in the American Revolution, but also the only battle fought in New Hampshire.

US Founding Father Nicholas Gilman originally came from New Hampshire.

Gilman served as an administrative officer for the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment. In that role, he proved his talent in making the most out of limited resources, such as manpower, in particular. This, among other factors, led to the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment becoming one of the best units in George Washington’s Continental Army.

The regiment avoided capture by the British during the Fall of Fort Ticonderoga in 1777, and in that same year, fought in the decisive Battles of Saratoga which resulted in an American victory. Gilman and the regiment formed part of the American forces at Yorktown, which marked the end of the British war effort. After the war, Gilman represented New Hampshire in the Continental Congress, leading to his signing of the US Constitution on the state’s behalf in 1787.

Alan Shepard also came from New Hampshire.

Born in 1923, Alan Shepard earned his place in history in 1961, when he rode Freedom 7 into space, becoming the first American to reach space. He provided ground support for succeeding missions under the Mercury Program and even became the Chief Astronaut for the succeeding Gemini Program.

However, the development of Meniere’s Disease meant Shepard’s return to space became delayed. He finally succeeded in 1971, when as the commander of Apollo 14, he landed and walked on the Moon. On his return to Earth, Shepard continued to serve as Chief Astronaut, before retiring in 1974. By that point, US President Richard Nixon had promoted him to rear admiral, the first astronaut to ever reach that rank.

Freedom 7 Launch
Photo by NASA from Wikipedia

The famous writer Dan Brown also comes from New Hampshire.

Born in 1964, Dan Brown became famous worldwide for his novels, in particular, the Da Vinci Code. In this novel, the protagonists must unravel a mystery going back 2000 years, while fighting off enemies trying to stop them. In the end, they discover the truth, hidden in the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci such as the Mona Lisa. Specifically, the plot point of Jesus Christ’s biological children with Mary Magdalene.

Dan Brown continued to use similar themes in his other novels, such as Angels and Demons. This not only made him famous but also a target of controversy. Critics have also targeted him for his claims about the accuracy of his research when experts have proven otherwise. They claim that Brown’s actions damaged the credibility of historical sources, and encouraged the spread of conspiracy theories.

The National Historic Site of Saint-Gaudens stands in the state.

The site includes the gardens, home, and studios of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, an American sculptor from the late-19th to early-20th centuries. Saint-Gaudens lived on the grounds from 1885 until his death in 1907, which also formed the heart of the Cornish Art Colony. They were a community of artists and other intellectuals, who lived together out of shared interests. The community survived past Saint-Gauden’s death, only to disband during WWI.

Saint-Gauden’s wife Augusta managed the property until her death in 1926, after which the Saint-Gauden’s memorial took over management. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1962 and received Congressional recognition in 1964. Finally, in 2019, received a new designation as a national historic park.

The state’s capital of Concord has a history of its own.

Native Americans lived on the site for centuries before the coming of the Europeans, primarily by fishing and farming along the Merrimack River. Pioneers led by Ebenezer Eastman became the first Europeans to settle the area between 1725 and 1727.

In 1734, the settlement took on the name of Rumford, only to get renamed Concord in 1765. The name reflected a settlement arbitrated by Governor Benning Wentworth with the neighboring town of Bow. Concord’s central position in the region made it the logical choice for a state capital after the American Revolution. The city became a major source of stone for building in the 19th century, as well as a major railway hub. Today, the city has since become a major center for healthcare and other service industries.

Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the USA, has his grave in Concord.

In fact, Pierce came from New Hampshire and had previously represented it in the US Congress. As President of the United States from 1853 to 1857, Pierce worked to keep the government bureaucracy neutral from party politics, while balancing the internal affairs of the Democratic Party. He failed at the latter, with many in the party becoming his political enemies as a result. Pierce also bought territory from Mexico which he then added to Arizona and New Mexico, as well as signed trade treaties with Britain and Japan.

However, Pierce’s support for continued and even expanded slavery in the west cost him the support of the northern states. He also became involved in the Ostend Manifesto, which essentially amounted to a threat of war against Spain over Cuba. This, among other factors, led the Democratic Party not to nominate him for reelection in 1856. Historians generally consider him among the worst and least notable US Presidents.

Franklin Pierce
Image from Wikipedia

New Hampshire’s largest city of Manchester also has a history of its own.

Much like at Concord, Native Americans lived on what would become Manchester long before the Europeans arrived. Pioneers led by John Goffe III settled the site in 1722, with more pioneers arriving in 1727. Composed of veterans from Queen Anne’s War, they called their settlement Tyngstown after their leader, William Tyng. It got renamed Derryfield in 1751, and again as Manchester in 1807.

The final renaming resulted after the completion of major waterworks on the Merrimack River. These waterworks came as part of major industrial expansion in the city and reflected the city’s ambition to rival its British namesake, then a major center of the Industrial Revolution. The city continued to grow throughout the 19th and early-20th centuries, before beginning to decline from the 1920s onward. WWII led to a resurgence for the city’s industries, only to continue to decline afterward.

A regiment from New Hampshire became famed as one of the Union’s best during the American Civil War.

Specifically, the 15th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry, led by Colonel Edward Cross. They fought in over 20 battles during the war, including the decisive Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. This led to them receiving the nickname of the Fighting 15th, as well as the grim reputation of having the highest casualty rate of any Union unit during the war.

The regiment also fought in the final battle of the war, the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse. This also meant the regiment had a presence when the Confederacy finally surrendered, marking the end of the civil war. With the war’s end, the regiment disbanded between June and July of 1865.

The state also has a diverse population.

There are actually more women than men in New Hampshire, at 51%. However, whites do still make up the vast majority of the population, at 98%. That said, New Hampshire’s population does have the biggest proportion of French-Americans out of any American state, at 23%. Irish-Americans follow in second place, at 21%, with Anglo-Americans only coming in at third place, at 17%. Of the state’s population, an estimated 65% lie between the ages of 18 and 60, and 22% are under the age of 18. Finally, the last 14% of the state’s population have an age of over 60 years old.

The same goes for the state’s religions.

People who identify as irreligious actually make up the plurality in New Hampshire, at 36%. Protestant denominations come in second place, at 30%, with Roman Catholics making third place at 26%. Mormons and Jews make up the smallest religious denominations in New Hampshire, at only 1% each.

The state also has the reputation of being the least religious state in the USA, with a 2010 survey showing only 54% of the state’s people believe God exists in one way or another. In comparison, the rest of the USA’s population averages around 70% in believing God exists. The survey also showed that only 23% of New Hampshire’s people consider themselves very religious.

Textiles once made up the backbone of the state’s industry.

Ironically, despite New Hampshire’s strong support for the Union, this gave them strong pre-war links with the states that later formed the Confederacy. Cotton and other cloth came from the south to feed the factories in New Hampshire.

Before the war, this also meant that many slaves lived in the state, working the factories. Textiles continued to dominate New Hampshire’s economy through the 19th and early-20th centuries. The Great Depression, however, destroyed the textile industry.

Today, only 2% of the state’s income comes from the textile industry. Instead, the electronics sector has dominated New Hampshire’s economy, helped by defense contracts with the US military during the Cold War.

New Hampshire has a solid infrastructural network.

Interstates 89, 93, and 95 all run through New Hampshire, as do US Routes 1, 2, 3, and 4. New Hampshire also has state runways of its own, with New Hampshire Routes 16 and 10 as the most important.

The state also has 25 different airports, with Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, and Londonderry counting as the most important ones. Amtrak also operates in New Hampshire, with the Vermonter and Downeaster lines providing regular intercity bus services. 11 public transit authorities provide other intercity bus services. A railway network also extends from Boston and Northern Massachusetts into New Hampshire, with expansion ongoing to extend services to the entirety of Massachusetts.

New Hampshire Facts, Interstate 89
Photo by Ken Gallager from Wikipedia

It also has a solid educational system.

It goes as far back as the 19th century, with the first public schools in New Hampshire opening in Portsmouth in 1827. Today, New Hampshire has more than 80 public schools, with many providing education to students from multiple towns. The state also features at least 30 different private schools. New Hampshire also has at least 60 college-level campuses.

The state participates in various sports.

Several New Hampshire universities take part in college football. Both the Dartmouth Big Green and New Hampshire Wildcats form part of NCAA Division I. The former under the Ivy League, and the latter under the America East Conference. Other universities’ teams instead form part of NCAA Division II, the Franklin Pierce Ravens, Saint Anselm Hawks, and Southern New Hampshire Penmen. Women’s football also has participation from New Hampshire, with the Northeast Ruckus.

The state has three baseball clubs, the Nashua Silver Knights, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, and the New Hampshire Wild. They also participate in rugby, with the Amoskeag Rugby Club, and in soccer, with the Seacoast United Phantoms.

New Hampshire has a rich culture.

The state has a springtime tradition involving its sap houses, where people gather maple sap to turn into maple syrup. The tradition involves holding open house events before sugaring off or starting the collection and syrup-making process. Various county fairs take place in New Hampshire, such as the Hopkinton State Fair.

Summer camps also dot the state’s Lakes Region, with those around Lake Winnipesaukee as the biggest. New Hampshire also has a theater tradition, with Tamworth’s Barnstormers Theater as the longest-running in the entire USA, going back to 1931. Other state traditions take place in winter, such as building fishing houses called bob houses on the lakes once they freeze over.

The world’s largest video game arcade stands in New Hampshire.

Specifically, Funspot, in the city of Laconia. It features over 500 different video games, pinball machines, and even ticket redemption machines. To add to the experience, all of the arcade’s attractions go back to the 1970s and 1980s. The arcade also has its own mini-golf course, as well as a 10-lane bowling alley for 10-pin and candlepin bowling.

Other features include a bar, a bingo, and a restaurant. It also has a museum dedicated to the history of video game arcades in the USA. The arcade received recognition from Guinness World Records in 2008, as the world’s largest arcade museum.

Funspot arcade in New Hampshire
Image from Funspot

New Hampshire also counts as an alcohol beverage control state.

This means that the state government has a monopoly on the sale of alcoholic goods. And while the state licenses who can sell it, they can only buy their supplies from state-approved suppliers. A total of 17 US states fall into this category. In New Hampshire, supermarkets and convenience stores typically have the license to sell beer and wine. However, only state-operated liquor stores can sell liquor, with only a small number of private stores ever getting a license to sell liquor.

The state has a reputation when it comes to election time.

For one thing, state law requires that the election primary take place a week before those of other states. This makes it the first primary in the 4-year American presidential election cycle. Also, as the first primary for the US general elections, this naturally has an effect on the elections in the rest of the country.

Specifically, undecided voters look to New Hampshire, and seeing where the election there goes, may vote accordingly. New Hampshire towns with less than 100 residents may also open their polls at midnight. These include Dixville Notch, and Hart’s Location, among others, all of which cast the first votes in the US general elections.