Livermore, New Hampshire
Livermore is an unincorporated civil township and ghost town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. It was briefly inhabited as a logging town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The site of the former village is about 16 miles (26 km) west of North Conway, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from US Route 302 (the Crawford Notch Highway) via the U.S. Forest Service Sawyer River Road. The logging operation was established by Daniel Saunders Jr. and Charles W. Saunders, members of the Saunders family. The town was named for Samuel Livermore, a former United States senator who was the grandfather of Daniel Saunders' wife. The population was reported as 0 at the 2010 census.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 63.8 square miles (165.2 km2), of which 63.6 sq mi (164.7 km2) is land and 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2), or 0.27%, is water. Nearly all of the town's area (99.7%) is part of the White Mountain National Forest.
The village of Livermore was benchmarked with an elevation of 1,264 feet (385 m), a quarter mile from the eastern boundary adjoining Hart's Location.
Livermore is a long, relatively narrow township, forming a very rough approximation of a crescent with its endpoints at the north and west. Livermore and its neighbor to the west, Lincoln, occupy a large area of uninhabited woodland once known as the "Pemigewasset Wilderness" (a portion of which is preserved in the present-day WMNF Pemigewasset Wilderness in Lincoln). The original boundary between the two towns did not follow natural features, such as the crest of the divide that separates the Pemigewasset River and Saco River drainages, which led to numerous charges and countercharges of cutting over the line between the two owners, the Saunders family in Livermore and James Everell Henry in Lincoln. In addition, it was difficult to haul timber over the ridgecrest. Eventually a settlement was reached by which the New Hampshire legislature redrew the town boundary to run along the ridgecrest, with the Lincoln portion defined as that part of the territory that is drained by the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River and the Livermore portion as that drained by other rivers. This definition produced a peculiar result: there is a small piece of Livermore at the head of the Little River valley (part of the Ammonoosuc River drainage) that is not contiguous to the rest of the town - it is, in fact, 4.8 miles (7.7 km) from the nearest corner of the main part of the town. Since this fragment and all lands bordering it are now part of the White Mountain National Forest, this historical peculiarity no longer has any practical consequences.
The curving northwestern border of the township follows the height of land between the drainage of the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River to the west and the headwaters of the Sawyer River and the Swift River to the east. Important summits along the border (from northeast to southwest) include Mount Bemis, at 3,706 feet (1,130 m) above sea level; Mount Lowell, at 3,743 feet (1,141 m); Mount Carrigain, the highest point in Livermore at 4,700 feet (1,400 m); Mount Kancamagus, at 3,728 feet (1,136 m); and Mount Osceola, at 4,326 feet (1,319 m).
Two roads cross the township of Livermore, although neither one is close to the site of Livermore village. The Kancamagus Highway (New Hampshire Route 112) crosses Kancamagus Pass (2,855 ft or 870 m) on the Lincoln/Livermore boundary and passes through several miles of the southeastern part of Livermore to a point just west of Sabbaday Falls. The Tripoli Road (not usually maintained for winter travel), which runs from the northern tip of Thornton through Thornton Gap to Waterville Valley, crosses the southwest corner of the township.
Historical census figures are shown in the table to the right. As a logging town where most of the actual logging was done in the winter by transient men hired for the season only, ascertaining the actual population of Livermore at any given time would have been problematic, and these census figures may have been influenced by how these transients were counted.
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- 1874 - Grafton County Lumber Co. incorporated.
- 1875 - Sawyer River Railroad incorporated.
- 1876 - Livermore incorporated.
- 1877 - Construction of Sawyer River Railroad begins to support logging activity.
- 1896 - Topographic map shows railroad and twelve inhabited buildings.
- 1927 - A November storm devastates the local lumber industry.
- 1928 - The last mill is closed.
- 1937 - All but one 12-acre (4.9 ha) parcel of land is sold to the United States Forest Service for inclusion in the White Mountain National Forest.
- 1949 - The last resident leaves town.
- 1951 - Livermore dissolved by an act of the New Hampshire legislature.
- 1970s - Bill defeated in State House for Lincoln to annex Livermore.
Diatomaceous earth—also called tripolite—was once mined in Little East Pond and processed in a mill located in the southwestern part of Livermore township. The Tripoli Road received its name from this mill. The USFS Little East Pond Trail follows for some distance the grade of the old railroad that served the mill, and the ruins of the mill can still be found by following the line of the railroad grade into the woods for a short distance. However, this mill was far from the village of Livermore and was historically more identified with Thornton.
- In November 1969, Yankee magazine published an article "Forever Livermore", by James F. Morrow Jr., which provides an account of the town with many illustrations. It is currently available at http://www.bartletthistory.org/bartletthistory/livermoreYankeePg1.html and http://www.bartletthistory.org/bartletthistory/livermoreYankeePg2.html. A wealth of other information about Livermore's history can also be found at Bartletthistory.org.
- Logging Railroads of the White Mountains, by C. Francis Belcher, Boston, 1980, now unfortunately out of print, gives a thorough history of logging by railroad in Livermore and the rest of the White Mountains.