ALL...ABOARD! A History of the Railroad in Hopkinton and Contoocook, New Hampshire
There are many ways to approach the social history of the railroad – how it expanded markets for farmers, increased tourism, expanded mobility for rural communities, and its affect on mills and factories along the Contoocook River. However, too often when people think of the railroad today, it is a romanticized version of its history. People reminisce about “simpler times” and quote from Thornton Wilder’s 'Our Town': “If you hold your breath you can hear the train from the station all the way to Contoocook.” This sentimentalized version sometimes ignores aspects of the railroad – the immigrant laborers, those displaced from their homes along the river, and the townspeople and other investors who purchased bonds that paid for the railroad – which we have tried to include in this driving tour. We hope you enjoy this driving tour, that you learn something you didn’t know before, and perhaps gain a different perspective. Thank you for joining us! Note: Please be respectful of private property. If you are driving, pull off the road completely and do not block driveways or roads. If you get out of your car, make sure you are on public land or have the owner’s permission to be on it. We suggest the tour be done during daylight hours. Sponsored in part by a grant from New Hampshire Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.