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Concord in Merrimack County, New Hampshire — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Main Street's Origins

Downtown Concord

 

—Est. 1725 —

 
Main Street's Origins Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 25, 2017
1. Main Street's Origins Marker
Inscription.
Downtown Emerges
Ever since Concord was first settled in 1726, Main Street has been its principal thoroughfare. The town's first plan shows an unnamed street that follows the same path as today's Main Street. The 1-1/2 mile route was lined with sixty-eight house lots, placed on the flat plateau above the Merrimack River. Since agriculture was the primary occupation, each house lot was supplemented with a field lot in the flood plain below.

In the 1700s, the heart of Concord was more than a half-mile north of its current spot. The multi-purpose Old North Meetinghouse (both church and town hall) stood there, as did the first post office. Downtown started to shift southward after the construction of a third town hall in 1790 on the site of today's county courthouse. Concord planned the new building with state government in mind; though the legislature was still migratory, indications pointed to Concord becoming the state capital, and the town wanted to encourage this move by providing permanent quarters.

By 1800, Main Street was a busy thoroughfare and the heart of a "prosperous, enlightened community."
Some seventy or eighty houses lined its length, as well as taverns, stores and a wide variety of shops. The average citizen traveled by horse or on foot as only the most wealthy
Marker detail: 1700's image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 25, 2017
2. Marker detail: 1700's
owned chaises, and even basic wagons were few and far between. Bridges at either end of Main Street, both of which opened in 1795, brought yet more traffic into town. Horse and ox-drawn wagons laden with produce passed through, headed to seaport markets and returning piled high with merchandise. Laws passed in the early 1800s prohibited and sheep from running at large on Main Street – an effort to improve traffic flow and the street's image.

Two early 19th century events brought yet more trade, business and visitors into town and cemented Concord's position as an economic and political base for the state. The first was the opening of two turnpike routes, both of which terminated on Main Street. The other was the designation of Concord as the state capital.

Forces at either end of Main Street competed for the new state house; the chosen site was roughly midway. Completed in 1819, the new building was a magnet, bringing businesses, residences and the post office south to this section of Main Street. Two decades later, the arrival of the railroad and the placement of the depot a few blocks from here finalized the relocation of downtown to this area. By then, downtown had its first formal sidewalks constructed of wood; prior to then, people shared the streets with horses and wagons.

After Concord was designated the shire town of the new
Marker detail: 1800's image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 25, 2017
3. Marker detail: 1800's
Merrimack County in 1823, the town enlarged its town house to share it with the county and thus keep all three levels of government local, county and state – centrally located, as they are to this day.

Interested in Concord’s Downtown history?
If you have an idea for a future topic to present here, please contact the City Manager's office
at citymanager@concordnh.gov or 603-225-8570

 
Erected by City of Concord, New Hampshire.
 
Location. 43° 12.421′ N, 71° 32.183′ W. Marker is in Concord, New Hampshire, in Merrimack County. Marker is at the intersection of North Main Street (U.S. 3) and Capitol Street, on the right when traveling north on North Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is located on the sidewalk, on the east side of North Main Street. Marker is in this post office area: Concord NH 03301, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Concord Clock (a few steps from this marker); State House Grounds (within shouting distance of this marker); Franklin Pierce (within shouting distance of this marker); Isaac A. Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of Home of Isaac Hill
Marker detail: Two Early 19th Century Events image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 25, 2017
4. Marker detail: Two Early 19th Century Events
(within shouting distance of this marker); Concord's Architectural Heritage (within shouting distance of this marker); In Grateful Tribute (within shouting distance of this marker); Dedicated to You, A Free Citizen in a Free Land (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Concord.
 
More about this marker. Marker is mounted on a large, tall "kiosk-like" structure.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Downtown Concord Series
 
Also see . . .
1. Concord, New Hampshire History.
Concord grew in prominence throughout the 18th century, and some of its earliest houses survive at the northern end of Main Street. In the years following the Revolution, Concord's central geographical location made it a logical choice for the state capital. In 1808, Concord was named the official seat of state government. The 1819 State House is the oldest capitol in the nation in which the state's legislative branches meet in their original chambers. The city would become noted for furniture-making and granite quarrying. Today, the city is a center for health care and several insurance companies. (Submitted on April 2, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Main Street's Origins Marker (<i>tall view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 25, 2017
5. Main Street's Origins Marker (tall view)
 

2. Photographs of Old Buildings in Concord.
(This link presents photographs of many historic buildings in Concord, New Hampshire.) The downtown district in Concord is small, consisting of only two north-south streets (Main St. and State St.) and extending about 0.3 mile from Pleasant St. northward to Centre Street/Loudon Road. The downtown district includes the state capital and state legislature, as well as six banks, many offices, various small stores, two pharmacies, and an old theater (Phenix Hall). (Submitted on April 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Colonial EraIndustry & CommerceRoads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers
 
<i>Main Street from Pleasant Street, Concord, N.H.</i> image. Click for full size.
circa 1912
6. Main Street from Pleasant Street, Concord, N.H.
Pleasant Street is approximately 500 feet south of the marker site, the view is looking north towards the site.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 4, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 2, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 60 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on April 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 2, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   6. submitted on April 4, 2018. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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