Merrimack, New Hampshire

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Not to be confused with Merrimack County, New Hampshire.
Merrimack, New Hampshire
Town
Merrimack, New Hampshire.jpg
Official seal of Merrimack, New Hampshire
Seal
Location in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
Location in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
Coordinates: 42°51′59″N 71°29′37″W / 42.86639°N 71.49361°W / 42.86639; -71.49361Coordinates: 42°51′59″N 71°29′37″W / 42.86639°N 71.49361°W / 42.86639; -71.49361
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Hillsborough
Incorporated 1746
Government
 • Manager Eileen Cabanel
 • Town council Nancy Harrington, Chair
Thomas J. Mahon
Lon S. Woods
Daniel Dwyer
Thomas P. Koenig
Finlay C. Rothhaus
William W. Boyd III
Area
 • Total 33.4 sq mi (86.6 km2)
 • Land 32.6 sq mi (84.4 km2)
 • Water 0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)  2.48%
Elevation 180 ft (55 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 25,494
 • Density 760/sq mi (290/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 03054
Area code(s) 603
FIPS code 33-47540
GNIS feature ID 0873663
Website www.merrimacknh.gov

Merrimack is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 25,494 at the 2010 census, making it the eighth-largest municipality in New Hampshire.[1] In 2013, Merrimack was named the twenty-third best place to live in the United States by CNN Money Magazine.[2]

There are four villages in the town: Merrimack Village (formerly known as Souhegan Village), Thornton's Ferry, Reed's Ferry, and South Merrimack.

History[edit]

Historical Marker near Citizens Bank on Daniel Webster Highway stating the town's history before incorporation

The first known settlers of the area currently known as Merrimack appeared sometime after the last ice age. European settlers first came to the area in the late 17th century when the area was still in dispute between the Province of New Hampshire and Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Merrimack is a Native American term meaning sturgeon, a type of fish. The Pennacook Indians named the Merrimack River after this fish because of the vast population that once existed there. The Penacooks spelled it Monnomoke or Merramake. "When the town was incorporated, it took the name of the river and spelled it Merrymac.", according to the Merrimack Historical Society.[3]

Merrimack was officially incorporated in 1746, a year largely regarded as Merrimack's birthday, although only the southern portion (primarily what is known as Thornton's Ferry) of the current boundaries of town was included in the original town, with the northern portion of what is now Merrimack (primarily what is known as Reed's Ferry) being added a few years later.

Matthew Thornton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, lived and was buried in Merrimack. The Signer's House and Matthew Thornton Cemetery are still located in the town.

The Boston and Maine Railroad laid tracks through the town in the 19th century, with several stations operating until the mid-20th century when the advent of the automobile transformed Merrimack from a largely agricultural community to a bedroom community of Boston and nearby cities in New Hampshire. Since 1970 it has been the home of an Anheuser-Busch brewery, their easternmost, and one of their smallest plants in the United States. It is home to a brewery tour and one of the five stables for the Budweiser Clydesdales.[4]

The Merrimack School Board attracted national attention in 1995 when it passed a "prohibition of alternative lifestyle instruction" act, which resulted in the removal of a work by William Shakespeare from the school curriculum.[5] The board members who supported the act were voted out in the subsequent board election.[6]

Historical Marker near Thornton's grave on Daniel Webster Highway

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 33.4 square miles (87 km2), of which 32.6 sq mi (84 km2) is land and 0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2) (2.48%) is water. The highest point in Merrimack is an unnamed hill in the northwestern part of town that reaches 512 feet (156 m) above sea level.

Areas of Merrimack[edit]

Shadows of the former villages that now make Merrimack still exist. However, the boundaries and exact definitions are unclear due to the expansion of suburban development in the town during the latter half of the 20th century.

Thorntons Ferry[edit]

The area of town near Naticook Lake and Continental Boulevard, the name of this area comes from Matthew Thornton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence who lived in Merrimack and is now buried in a cemetery near the intersection of Daniel Webster Highway (U.S. Route 3) and Greeley Street. Thorntons Ferry Elementary School is located on Camp Sargent Road.

Reeds Ferry[edit]

The northern portion of the town, Reeds Ferry is centered around the current intersection of Bedford Road and Daniel Webster Highway. The boundaries of the area are unclear, as the northwestern part of town near Baboosic Lake is not traditionally considered a portion of Reed's Ferry. While as a defined village it was located mostly near the Merrimack River, it may now possibly be seen as part of Reeds Ferry. Reeds Ferry Elementary School is located on Lyons Road.

South Merrimack[edit]

Next to the Breezeway at Merrimack Town Hall

Centered around Pennichuck Square on Rte. 101A and Continental Boulevard, South Merrimack is usually considered to be the southwestern part of town near Rte. 101A and Boston Post Road. However, the southeastern portion of town near Harris Pond might also be considered part of South Merrimack or Thornton's Ferry.

Merrimack Village[edit]

The center of town is not known as "Merrimack Village" per se, but constitutes the area between the more defined Reed's Ferry and Thornton's Ferry areas. Largely considered to be located at the Public Library on the corner of Baboosic Lake Road and Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack Village was built along the Souhegan River that roughly cuts the current town in half. The elementary school in this part of town is named after James Mastricola,[7] who deeded the land to the town upon his death. The lower and upper elementary schools, the middle school, Merrimack High School, the library, and the current town hall, among other buildings, are all located on the land formerly owned by Mastricola.

The "village" is considered to extend westward to the Amherst border. This is due in large part to the former Town Meetinghouse, which was located on the corner of Turkey Hill Road and Meetinghouse Road.

Demographics[edit]

For additional demographics on the area of Merrimack east of the Everett Turnpike, see East Merrimack, New Hampshire.

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 25,119 people, 8,832 households, and 6,986 families residing in the town. The population density was 770.6 people per square mile (297.5/km²). There were 8,959 housing units at an average density of 274.8 per square mile (106.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.58% White, 0.73% African American, 0.19% Native American, 1.50% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.08% of the population.

There were 8,832 households out of which 41.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.1% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.9% were non-families. 15.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the town the population was spread out with 29.0% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 34.2% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 6.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 99.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $68,817, and the median income for a family was $72,011. Males had a median income of $51,725 versus $31,528 for females. The per capita income for the town was $27,748. About 1.2% of families and 1.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.9% of those under age 18 and 3.1% of those age 65 or over.

Economy[edit]

PC Connection and Brookstone are based in Merrimack. Merrimack Canoe Company was started in Merrimack before being relocated to Tennessee. Other notable employers include Fidelity Investments, Anheuser-Busch, Campers Inn, and BAE Systems.

Opened in 2012, the Merrimack Premium Outlets are a 560,000-square-foot (52,000 m2) retail mall area with 12 buildings, parking lots, and other site improvements located off exit 10 of the Everett Turnpike.[9]

Education[edit]

The six public schools in Merrimack are managed by the Merrimack School District and include Thorntons Ferry Elementary School, Reeds Ferry Elementary School, James Mastricola Elementary School, James Mastricola Upper Elementary School, Merrimack Middle School and Merrimack High School. In addition, there was a charter school, the Academy for Science and Design, established for the 2007-08 academic year, and is New Hampshire's first charter school to concentrate on science, math, engineering, and design and is free of tuition fees.[10] The school has since moved to Nashua, NH.[11] Merrimack High School has won one state championship in baseball (2007), three in softball (1980, 1988, 2001), one in football (1987), two in soccer (1998 girls, 2007 boys), three in indoor track (1999, 2007, 2008), four in outdoor track (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007), one in cross-country (2006), one in skiing (1979), one in volleyball (2001), and four in basketball (1967, 2003, 2004, 2012).[12]

Annual events[edit]

The Rotary Nashua West club has organized the Rock'N Ribfest every year since 2003. The Ribfest has been held on the Anheuser-Busch grounds of Merrimack for the last eight years and was held there once again on June 15–17, 2012. The Ribfest is the official site for the New Hampshire state barbecue championship, where judges taste test the Northeast's best BBQ from more than 30 competitors.

Politics and governance[edit]

State and federal[edit]

As a large, suburban community located directly between the state's two largest cities, Manchester and Nashua, Merrimack plays a disproportionate role to its size every four years in the New Hampshire primary; in almost every Fourth of July preceding a presidential election, every presidential candidate will march or have a float in the town's Fourth of July parade.

Traditionally, in state and national politics, the town has been dominated by Republicans, who currently hold seven of the town's eight seats in the General Court. The current General Court district of Merrimack is Hillsborough 19.

Local[edit]

The town government consists of a 7-member Town Council. This form of government was recently adopted by a ballot measure on May 25, 2006. More information on Merrimack's government can be found at Charter commission website.

Each March, the town conducts two deliberative sessions (school and general) to decide what warrant articles will be on the Town General Election ballot in April, one of which is always election of town officers, and another is the budget. If the budget is not approved by the voters, the town's governing council either holds an emergency hearing regarding a new budget or goes forward with the priors years' budget, amended with any time sensitive information pending upon the current year.

The Merrimack Village District administers the water system that serves the central area of the town.

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ United States Census Bureau, American FactFinder, 2010 Census figures. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Merrimack Historical Society. History of Merrimack, New Hampshire. Merrimack Historical Society Inc, U.S.A. 1976. p.9
  4. ^ "Anheuser-Busch Factory Tour in Merrimack, NH". factorytour.com. Retrieved July 5, 2010. 
  5. ^ Mark Walsh (February 28, 1996). "Gay Students' Request Spurs Board To Cut Clubs". Education Week. Retrieved April 7, 2009. 
  6. ^ Rod Paul (May 15, 1996). "New England town rejects religious right; Gays, creationism were hot issues in widely watched school election". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved April 7, 2009. 
  7. ^ "A History of James Mastricola Elementary School". Mastricola Elementary School. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ "Update on Merrimack Premium Outlets". Town of Merrimack. April 2008. Retrieved December 14, 2011. 
  10. ^ "New Hampshire May Soon Have a Science and Technology Charter School", Sheryl Rich-Kern, New Hampshire Public Radio, June 18, 2007
  11. ^ http://www.asdnh.org/about/contact
  12. ^ "NHIAA Champions" (PDF). New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association. Retrieved 25 February 2010. [dead link]

External links[edit]