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Packed with more than 200 images from the Manahan-Phelps-McCulloch Photographic Collection. Unique visual history of a historic New Hampshire town. Chronicles its beginnings as a pre-revolutionary settlement on the northern frontier, as it develops into a small mill town, the coming of the railroad, follow as a tourist destination.
The Photo Studio
The Manahan-Phelps-McCulloch Collection is a collection of more than 100,000 negatives from a photographic studio in continuous operation in Hillsborough since the 1860’s. The studio originally opened under the ownership of Solon Newman, and has changed ownership many times over the years. Starting in 1899, William H. Manahan Jr. ran the studio for 54 years until Cyrus Phelps took over in 1953. In 2002, Donald McCulloch and Catherine Phelps McCulloch donated the collection to the Hillsborough Historical Society. The society has been preserving and documenting the collection ever since. There is no other collection in New Hampshire comparable in its time extent and collection breadth. Most of the photographs used in this book are of Manahan’s work.
Hillsborough is located in the valley of the Contoocook River in south-western New Hampshire. Wooded hills, 35 lakes and ponds, and a series of 8 in-service, stone arch bridges surround it. The business center has always been known as Hillsborough Bridge, and was, in fact, the first area settled and has been the commercial center of the town ever since. It had two mills operating, the Contoocook Mills, which manufactured men’s knit half-hose and underwear, and the Hillsborough Woolen Mills, which produced overcoats, cloaking and suits from woven woolen fabric. In 1841, there were 56 dwellings, 2 churches, 2 gristmills and sawmills, and several merchants and professional services. Except for a few more dwellings and the historic Dutton twin buildings and Governor Smith House, nothing has really changed.
Radiating from Hillsborough Bridge are three historic villages. Hillsborough Center, a quaint village of early homes of late 1700s and early 1800s, is truly one of the most picturesque communities in New Hampshire. It retains its common training ground, one room schoolhouse, town pound, club center, and two churches. Its cemetery is the final resting place of several French and Indian and Revolutionary War veterans. Lower Village to the southwest was the early industrial center with multiple sawmills, furniture makers, tanneries, blacksmiths, and other woodworking shops. The Franklin Pierce Homestead in the Lower Village remains one of New Hampshire’s historic jewels. The Lower Village is also home to the Union Chapel, built with the aid of the Ladies Aid Society whose annual membership dues is still 25¢. The Upper Village, just north of the Pierce Homestead, was home to a carriage maker, furniture maker, and the first telephone operating exchange. The Upper Village leads to the vacation towns of Washington and Windsor. All four villages, unique in their own way, add their own historical significance and beauty to the town.
“Come to New Hampshire For Nestled in her lovely foothills’ Rarest jewel in her crown, Clothed in colors like the morning, Proud of all this wide renown, Is Hillsborough.”
From the 1911 board of trade pamphlet.
Paperback: 128 pages Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (February 13, 2012) Price: $21.99