Mont Vernon, New Hampshire
Mont Vernon, New Hampshire
|• Board of Selectmen||John F. Quinlan, Jr., Chair|
John M. Esposito
Kim E. Roberge
|• Total||16.7 sq mi (43.3 km2)|
|• Land||16.6 sq mi (43.0 km2)|
|• Water||0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2) 0.48%|
|Elevation||820 ft (250 m)|
|• Density||140/sq mi (56/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0873670|
It is not clear why it is spelled differently from the many other towns in the United States named after Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. Some say the "u" in "Mount" was accidentally dropped by a town clerk filling out official papers; some say the change was made deliberately to draw attention to the town; some say it uses the French spelling of "mont" as a nod to what was then the region's large French-Canadian population. According to town histories, as late as the 1920s, there was some dispute about how to spell the name, with the post office and one of its most prominent hotels using a "u" for many decades.
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Mont Vernon's general history follows that of many towns in this region: Originally settled for agriculture, its farms were hard hit after the Civil War when railroads opened up better farming land in the Midwest. Population peaked in 1870 and began to decline.
By the late 1890s it had become a tourist town, drawing summer visitors from points south, notably Boston, who escaped the heat in Mont Vernon's hills. At one point it had five large summer hotels, including the Grand Hotel, located on top of Grand Hill.
The hotel business began to wither with the development of the automobile, which allowed tourists to reach places like the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and it was killed by the Great Depression. The town's population bottomed out at barely 300 in 1930, at which time the Grand Hotel was destroyed in a fire. The remaining hotels were torn down before World War II.
Since the war, Mont Vernon has slowly become a suburban community. This was significantly accelerated in 1962-63 when engineers and technicians employed at Sanders Associates in Nashua found homes in Mont Vernon attractive. Some bought dormant farms, some homes in the village. All brought a willingness to pay more taxes to improve the schools. The active farms were squeezed out and eventually only the Pomeroy farm survived. It wasn't until the 1970 census that the town's official population passed mid-19th century highs.
Agriculture, including a 1940s and 1950s boom in chicken and egg farming, has all but disappeared. As of 2008, the town has one dairy farm. The town's only General Store closed in January 2010, after more than 120 years in the same location. It reopened in early 2012 under the name Fishbones, renovated in the style of the 1850s, but was shuttered less than a year later in November 2012. It has since reopened again under new owners, using the old General Store nameplate.
Mont Vernon made national news in March 2012 due to debate during the annual town meeting over whether to rename a small fishing hole called Jew Pond. The town eventually renamed it Carleton Pond, after the family which donated the surrounding property to the town.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 16.7 square miles (43 km2), of which 16.6 square miles (43 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) is water, comprising 0.48% of the town. Mont Vernon is drained by Beaver Brook and Caesar's Brook. The town's highest point is on its northern border, at 1,015 feet (309 m) above sea level, near the summit of Storey Hill.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,034 people, 693 households, and 575 families residing in the town. The population density was 122.4 people per square mile (47.3/km²). There were 720 housing units at an average density of 43.3 per square mile (16.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.57% White, 0.15% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.10% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.54% of the population.
There were 693 households out of which 43.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.7% were married couples living together, 5.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.9% were non-families. 12.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.17.
In the town, the population was spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 26.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 104.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.1 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $71,250, and the median income for a family was $77,869. Males had a median income of $50,353 versus $32,500 for females. The per capita income for the town was $30,772. About 1.0% of families and 2.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.3% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.
The only public school in town is the Mont Vernon Village School. It is an elementary school, with grades kindergarten to six. For 7th and 8th grades, Mont Vernon sends its students to the Amherst Middle School. For 9th through 12th grades, the students are sent to Souhegan High School, which is in Amherst but jointly owned by Amherst and Mont Vernon. Mont Vernon and Amherst comprise the school administrative unit SAU 39.
The former two-story Mont Vernon Fire Station, built in 1947, was located on North Main Street next to the Town Hall. This station had 6 apparatus bays. In March 2007 the town voted to raze the deteriorating building and replace it with a new fire station on the same lot. The new station has 5 apparatus bays facing North Main Street, and 1 bay facing Pinkham Avenue. The Fire Chief has his office in the station, along with a radio and report room, a meeting room, and an office for the Emergency Management Director. The station also contains maintenance, storage, and work rooms. Emergency medical services are provided by Amherst.
The town has two major annual celebrations: On the last Saturday in September, it hosts "Lamson Farm Day" at a town-owned farm to celebrate its agricultural past. In late April or early May, it has a celebration of spring called the "Mont Vernon Spring Gala". Both feature games, food and local entertainers.
The town has two sports teams that compete regionally. They are the Mont Vernon Falcons basketball team and the Mont Vernon Acers volleyball team. Both teams are for girls age 9-12. The Mont Vernon Village School (grades K-6) has a basketball court and volleyball court. Adult volleyball has been playing on Monday nights at the school since the early 1990s. The town owns land near the school that has a baseball field with bases, fencing and two dugouts. The adjacent field is also used for many other sports. Golf was played behind where the current post office is, sometime in the early 1900s.
There is a gun sporting range in town (the Purgatory Falls Fish & Game Club), and local hunting can be widely found in the fall. There was a ski hill in Mont Vernon with a rope tow. Running and hiking are also widely popular as Mont Vernon has many wonderful views and hiking trails, including Lamson Farm and Purgatory Falls. The Morrissette Trail, opened in May 2012, goes from the lowest to the highest points in Mont Vernon for an elevation gain of 700 feet (210 m) (315 to 1,015 feet (96 to 309 m)). The trail is dedicated to those battling cancer, and there will be signs for those honored and remembered who battled cancer. It is sponsored by Summit for a Cure.
- Doc Adams, baseball pioneer and New York Knickerbockers player and executive
- George Wilkins Kendall, journalist, Mexican–American War correspondent, and founder of The New Orleans Picayune
- Ryan M. Pitts, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient
- Alex Preston, American Idol top 3 finalist
Sites of interest
- Mont Vernon Historical Society Museum, upstairs in Town Hall
- Purgatory Falls trails along Purgatory Brook
- Horton Pond
- Daland Library
- United States Census Bureau, American FactFinder, 2010 Census figures. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- Mont Vernon Historical Society: "Mont Vernon's Missing U"
- Coolidge, Austin J.; John B. Mansfield (1859). A History and Description of New England. Boston, Massachusetts. p. 583.
- Kathy Cleveland (November 10, 2012). "Fishbones General Store in Mont Vernon closing its doors". The Telegraph. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- "Mont Vernon Residents Vote to Rename NH Fishing Spot Called Jew Pond", Washington Post (March 14, 2012).
- Michael Cleveland and Kathy Cleveland (April 20, 2012). "Mont Vernon selectmen choose Carleton Pond as new name for Jew Pond". The Telegraph. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017 (PEPANNRES): Minor Civil Divisions – New Hampshire". Retrieved November 15, 2018.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Website for SU 39, school administrative unit
- Amherst EMS Archived 2012-05-11 at the Wayback Machine
- Summit For A Cure, The Morrissette Trail