PITTSFIELD NH

 

Pittsfield NH /Northwood NH - (find us on BING)

 

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Pittsfield, NH

Then and Now Home and Site Photographs

with comment on 'Living Here'

Homes, schools, businesses, pictures, links from the Town of Pittsfield, NH

compiled by: Paul Oman

cider mill in pittsfield nh

One of the last wood press cider mills in the state (2006)

copyright 2013 paul oman

Town of Pittsfield, NH Then and Now photographs
 Pittsfield  NH images and homes from 100 years ago and the same shots of Pittsfield today Paul Oman


 

 


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NOTES ABOUT THE IMAGES: The images are from postcards mostly dated 1905 - 1915 were recreated in 2006 with some digital 'degraded' to make the images appear more like the postcard images.


Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Freewill Baptist Church 1910 vs. 2006. Constructed in 1838. Remodeled in 1886 after a design by William Butterfield (who designed several buildings in Pittsfield NH).



Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

 

In 1906 it was the Grammar School, today it is the Town Hall. Another William Butterfield buildings (5 of them in Pittsfield NH). Completed in 1890.

I moved to Pittsfield, NH in 2000. Unlike most small New Hampshire towns, Pittsfield does have a small downtown area, not just a Main Street with a post office, fire station and Town Hall.


Like many old New England towns, the town could use an 'Extreme Makeover." My very first impression of downtown Pittsfield was that it was sort of rundown and shabby - an old blue collar river-powered mill town with the mill long since gone. Nice homes on Main Street turned mostly into apartments, old storefronts with more apartments above and behind them. Nearly all in need of some TLC and fresh paint. However, the downtown area consists of only a few streets and so once one settles into Pittsfield, the downtown area takes on the feel of an old, comfortable, worn work coat, instead of a blighted urban area.



old main st pittsfield nh

 

pittsfield main st

 

Opera House - former home of stores, dances, graduations this 1883 building originally had three floors. Fire damage reduced it to two stores. It still contains shops and apartment space. The painting on the left can be found in the Pittsfield Library hanging on the wall.



Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

 

Main St.  Pittsfield, NH.-1908 vs. today. Sherwin Williams paint card on the left, hiding the intersection of Main St. with Elm St.

There isn't really a good reason to visit Pittsfield. No covered bridges, no campgrounds, no lakes, no historical home tours, no state parks, no string of outlet stores/gift shops, etc. There is a new, nice small boat launch ramp into the Suncook River upstream of the dam that offers about 1 mile of calm, flat water for fishing, canoeing, or kayaking.


Every August there is a Hot Air Balloon rally/fair that attracts hundreds or thousands of visitors. The big employers in Pittsfield are Globe Firefighter Suits (a 4th generation business that make top of the line fire fighting suits), Pittsfield Weaving that makes clothing labels, etc. and perhaps the Pleasant View plant nursery. There are two small food stores, several pizza places and a Rite Aid pharmacy. The town does have an active community theater that puts on about five performances each year.

The other form of entertainment in Pittsfield consists of the observing the antics associated with town and school board meetings and debates which can mean and nasty in a hurry.



 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Suncook River Dam, 1910 photo. Dams at this location represent the reason Pittsfield NH exists.



carroll st  pittsfield nh old

carroll st pittsfield nh new

 

Carroll St. 1907, Still perhaps the town's major intersection. Looking west up Carroll St. Left and right is Depot St. The Rite Aid pharmacy is behind the photographer left shoulder. Rt 107 makes a 90 degree turn here, coming in from the left and turning toward the photographer on to Carroll St.

The town's prime was probably about 1910. The mills and shoe factories were working and employing lots of workers. The railroad (gone since 1952) linked Pittsfield with the state capital (Concord - about 16 miles away), Manchester (about 40 miles away) as well as places like Boston and New York. Pittsfield was the economic and social hub of the surrounding farming towns. Pittsfield Academy (now simply a relic and not a part of the town's public schools) was the secondary school of "status" in the area. There was an "opera house" and the mansion of a former state governor on Main Street. Key public buildings designed by well known architect William A. Butterworth were the town's pride and joy (Pittsfield reportedly still has more Butterfield structures than any other community).


Like most or all old New England towns, Pittsfield has its share of historical noteworthy citizens, unusual events and footnotes of interest.



Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Depot Street, Pittsfield, NH - no date (about 1910)

Intersection of Carroll and Depot (note fountain in both old pictures). This pair of photos were taken within yards of turning 90 degrees to the right from the Carroll St. photo pair above. Photos are taken 90 degrees apart. Building on right side in Carroll St. picture above is the building on the left in this picture.



Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

White's Dam (early 1900's) on the Suncook River (upstream from the Dam) did not survive. Just the left embankment, and a small park, remains.

Since its founding (Incorporated in 1782) The town's claim to fame has been its location. The Suncook River was the reason the town was founded. A dam and mill got the ball rolling. In 1869 the Railroad come to Town. Today Highway Route 107 runs through downtown and and the very busy Route 28 flanks the hidden but nearby downtown.



Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH


Blake St. 1910. Blake street of near the Town Hall on Main St. Pittsfield, NH



 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 


Tuttle Estate on Main Street , Pittsfield, NH.-1908. Built by Hiram Tuttle in 1875. Tuttle later became governor of New Hampshire. The original roof was lost in a fire in 1911, but restored to its original appearance.


 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH


Pittsfield Academy 1906. Note the Baptist church on the left. This school was built in 1892 and served as the town's high school until 1942.



Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Main St. Pittsfield, NH 1906

You will not find Pittsfield in any tourist guide of New Hampshire. It is an 'in-between' location, 30 minutes from the Seacoat region, 30 minutes for the Lakes Region and not much more to the White Mountains. It is only 20 minutes to the state capital in Concord, less than an hour to a major airport in Manchester and perhaps 90 minutes from Boston. It is a great starting point for any sort of New Hampshire and a community not gridlocked with summer tourists. We like it that way!



Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Park St. (date unknown - 1910??). Note the Baptist church in the middle, and Pittsfield Academy behind that.


Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Catholic Church -- Pittsfield, NH 1910


 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

Sargent Hall 1910. This building was a private 'clinic'. Now an apartment building located about a mile from downtown Pittsfield, NH.



 

Pittsfield NH and also  Northwood NH

 

White Pond 1913 - A man-made pond just on the edge of downtown Pittsfield NH.



Pittsfield, New Hampshire is a small community of about 5,000 people located in central New Hampshire. Concord, the state capital is about 18 miles due west and the seacoast is about 35 or 40 miles east. Being not quite in the "Lakes Region", not in the White Mountains, and not on the seacoast, it gets overlooks by the tour books and visitors. We like that. It is a part of the state the people pass through but often don't stop. The town straddles the Suncook River and it was dams and water power that created Pittsfield and turned it into a typical New England mill town. The town became the hub community for the surrounding smaller towns. Pittsfield had shopping in its small downtown, jobs in the mills, and after 1869 railroad connections to the outside world. It peaked in perhaps 1900 with mansions along Main Street and stone / brick public building designed by well known architect. Its Pittsfield Academy was the school of choice for the region's young men and woman and it graduated some well known people.


Today, the town is much different, a shadow of its former self. The mills are gone. The mansions are now apartment buildings. The
school system needs improvement and teen crime and drugs were front page news in the Concord Monitor newspaper during the summer of 2007. The railroad is gone. The grand old buildings are silent reminders of better times that are gone for good. Yet traces of the old charm and character remain. While downtown can be described as 'rundown' it is too small in area to invoke any feeling of 'skid row' or 'inner city.' To me, living here is more like putting on an old, albeit worn, jacket that is comforting in its memories and fit even it is no longer in the best of shape.


Of course, the town is not alone in its decline. Nearly all New England communities have seen better days. Only the luck ones become spruced up Norman Rockwell tourist sites. Most, like Pittsfield, become home to hard working, blue collar folks more interested in making a living than in downtown historic preservation. While that is a sad thing in one way, it is a rather ordinary, comforting and natural state of existence in another way. It's my home and I like living here!


 

Another GENERAL INFORMATION website

(www.pittsfield-northwood-nh.com ---  about Pittsfield NH and Northwood, NH)
 

 

Important Pittsfield NH community links

Town of Pittsfield official town web site

Globe Manufacturing (famous fire suit manufacturer)

NH Glass Sculptures (local unique garden art)

Pittsfield Players (well known community theater group)

Progressive Epoxy Polymers (leading Internet suppler of epoxy resin systems)


(The Paul Oman Pages)

 

 

 

 

Weather


DATE AVERAGE HIGH AVERAGE LOW RECORD HIGH RECORD LOW SUNRISE SUNSET
             
             
May 1 64 37 88 26 5:39 7:47
May 5 66 39 91 25 5:33 7:52
May 8 67 40 93 22 5:30 7:55
May 13 69 41 88 27 5:24 8:00
May 20 71 44 96 25 5:17 8:08
May 28 74 46 94 29 5:10 8:15
June 5 76 49 93 35 5:06 8:22
June 8 76 50 93 34 5:05 (min early) 8:24
June 19 79 53 98 36 5:05 8:28
June 20 79 53 98 37 5:05 8:29 (lastest)
June 22 79 54 95 37 5:05 8:29
June 23 80 54 94 39 5:06 (going shorter) 8:29
JULY 4TH 82 56 95 40 5:11 8:28 (going shorter)
July 20 83 58 (max high) 101 41 5:23 8:19
July 21 84 (max high) 58 101 41 5:24 8:19
July 27 83 (going down) 58 97 37 5:30 8:13
Aug. 7 83 57 96 41 5:42 8:00
Aug. 8 82 57 (going down) 95 42 5:43 7:58
Aug. 23 80 54 91 38 5:59 7:36
Aug. 24 79 54 95 38 6:00 7:34
Aug. 27 79 53 96 36 6:04 7:29
9/05 (LABOR DAY) 76 51 91 35 6:13 7:14
Sept. 8 75 49 94 32 6:17 7:08
Sept. 9 74 49 95 30 6:18 7:06
Sept. 12 73 48 91 30 6:21 7:01
Sept. 20 71 45 92 28 6:30 6:46
Sept. 24 69 43 87 24 6:34 6:39
Sept. 27 70 44 92 28 6:32 6:43
Sept. 29 67 41 86 25 6:44 6:30
Oct. 4 65 39 84 22 6:46 6:21
Oct.7 64 38 90 21 6:49 6:16
Oct. 16 61 35 87 17 7:00 6:01
Oct. 17 60 34 89 14 7:02 5:59
Oct. 19 59 34 82 11 7:04 5:56
Oct. 25 57 32 (first freeze) 83 16 7:12 5:47
Oct. 28 56 32 78 11 7:15 (latest dst) 5:43 (end dst)
Oct. 31 54 31 78 14 6:19 4:38
Nov. 6 52 30 75 14 6:27 4:30
Nov. 9 50 30 74 11 6:30 4:27
Nov. 11 50 29 70 9 6:33 4:25
Nov. 12 49 29 65 7 6:34 4:24
11/23 (THANKSG) 44 25 73 -1 6:48 4:15
Nov. 26 43 24 64 -2 6:52 4:13
Dec. 3 40 21 60 -4 7:00 4:10
Dec. 5 39 20 62 -7 7:02 4:10
Dec. 7 38 19 65 -5 7:04 4:09 (shortest est)
Dec. 12 36 17 67 -15 7:08 4:10 (going longer)
Dec. 19 34 15 60 -16 7:13 4:11
Dec. 21 34 14 60 -21 7:15 4:12
CHISTMAS 33 13 55 -18 7:16 4:15
Dec. 27 32 (first subfreeze) 13 58 -8 7:17 4:16
Dec. 30 32 12 54 -21 7:18 (latest est) 4:15
Jan. 8 31 10 59 -25 7:17 (going longer) 4:27
Jan. 11 30 (min low) 10 58 -27 7:17 4:30
Jan. 15 30 9 (min low) 63 -19 7:15 4:35
Jan. 24 31 (going up) 9 57 -27 7:09 4:46
Jan. 29 31 10 (going up) 48 -21 7:04 4:53
Feb. 2 31 10 52 -15 7:00 4:59
Feb. 3 32 10 52 -15 6:59 5:00
Feb. 9 33 (first nonfreeze) 11 57 -19 6:52 5:08
Feb. 13 34 12 60 -23 6:46 5:14
Feb. 19 35 14 64 -13 6:37 5:22
Feb. 24 36 15 62 -13 6:30 5:28
Feb. 26 37 16 66 -15 6:26 5:31
March 3 39 18 59 -11 6:18 5:37
March 5 40 19 61 -4 6:15 5:40
March 14 43 22 72 -11 6:59 (dst) 5:51 (dst)
March 16 44 23 68 2 6:56 6:53
March 18 44 24 64 -13 6:52 6:55
March 22 46 25 74 5 6:45 7:00
March 28 49 27 82 2 6:33 7:08
March 31 50 28 69 10 6:29 7:10
April 2 51 28 73 13 6:25 7:15
April 4 52 29 77 9 6:22 7:16
April 8 54 30 77 12 6:13 7:21
April 16 57 32 88 15 6:02 7:30
April 17 58 33 (first nonfreeze) 94 18 6:00 7:31
April 20 59 34 92 16 5:55 7:34
             
             

RAINFALL:

Rainfall is a pretty uniform 3 to 3.5 inches each month (about 35-40 inches per year). Of course, in winter the rain becomes snow. One inch of snow forms 4.5 to 6 inches of snow. Average annual snowfall is about 60-65 inches each year (about 4 inches in Nov., 14 inches in Dec., 18 inches in Jan., 14 inches in Feb., 11.5 inches in March, and 2.5 inches in April).

CLOUD COVER:

Approx. 25% of the days are clear and cloud free; 25% are partly cloudy and 50% of the days are considered cloudy. Again, these percentages are pretty constant all through the different months.


Mystery Photos - can you find these 'objects' in downtown Pittsfield?

CLICK HERE Pittsfield mystery photos


Pittsfield Pictures -- A Slide Show of town sites:

CLICK HERE Pittsfield slide show pictures



Email Paul EMAIL


Return to THE PITTSFIELD PAGES - more web sites having to do with Pittsfield, NH CLICK HERE


 

Pittsfield NH History (copyright - Pittsfield Historical Society)

 

As explained in the Pittsfield Historical Society web site

 

Founded in 1768 by John Cram, initially Pittsfield was a collection of farms with several small centers of activity:  The Lower City, Upper City, South Pittsfield, Knowltons Corners and the Berry District.  Each of these places had a number of homes and some combination of stores, churches, schools and mills.  Within a few decades, the "Lower City" along the Suncook River became the dominant political, social and industrial center of activity in Pittsfield.  The town of Pittsfield, New Hampshire was incorporated on March 22, 1782 and its first meeting house erected in 1789. The first church was erected in 1789 in what now houses the present Pittsfield Community Center  The first school was constructed in 1777 near Catamount Mountain across from the Quaker Burying Ground.

From the very beginning, industry played an important role in Pittsfield economy.  Upon his arrival, Cram erected saw and grist mills.  About 1820, James Joy erected a scythe factory below these mills and in 1826 a cotton mill was erected.  In 1826, Cotton Drake engaged a shoe maker to come to Pittsfield to teach his sons how to make shoes.  The idea caught on and soon dozens of farmers and their families were manufacturing shoes in their homes. 

Between 1830 and 1840 the town population grew by 34.7%.  As a result, new homes had to be built.  To meet this demand James Joy and his successors at the cotton mill built a number of houses which became known as the "Corporation." Others erected stately single-family homes in the down area. 

With the arrival of the railroad in 1869, Pittsfield became the commercial center of the Suncook Valley.  Farmers brought their products from surrounding towns for shipment to Boston and points south.  The same farmers purchased dry goods, groceries, farm implements and other products in Pittsfield's stores which gave rise to a tremendous increase in commercial activity.  In 1924, the Suncook Valley Railroad became a part of the Boston and Maine system and continued to serve the valley that gave it its name.  The end of the railroad era occurred in 1950. 

In the war between the states, "it is doubtful if any other town furnished a more honorable list of men than Pittsfield, in proportion to the size.   Pittsfield sent into the ranks one hundred and forty seven.  Of these fifty-nine were either killed or permanently disabled;  more than 40 percent were casualties."  E Harold Young, History of Pittsfield

In 1870, Doak, Pecker & Swett erected a 30' by 200' shoe factory on Catamount Street near the railroad depot.  Later the factory was doubled in size.  Soon several other shoe factories emerged.  Most importantly, in 1879 "Riverside 1" was erected below the cotton mill on Joy Street.  It was occupied by C. B. Lancaster which immediately began constructing another building, "Riverside 2" adjacent to it.  By 1880, there were thriving shoe businesses on both ends of Pittsfield Village.

In 1901, Globe Manufacturing Company moved to Pittsfield.   Since that time, Globe Manufacturing has grown to over 180 employees and is recognized as the largest manufacturer of protective clothing for firefighters in the world.

 

 

 
       
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Homes, schools, businesses, pictures, links from the Town of Pittsfield, NH

Town of Pittsfield, NH Then and Now photographs
 Pittsfield  NH images and homes from 100 years ago and the same shots of Pittsfield today Paul Oman
 


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