Nashua, New Hampshire
Nashua is a city in southern New Hampshire, United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 86,494, the second-largest in northern New England after nearby Manchester. As of 2019 the population had risen to an estimated 89,355. Along with Manchester, it is a seat of New Hampshire's most populous county, Hillsborough.
Built around the now-departed textile industry, in recent decades Nashua has been swept up in southern New Hampshire's economic expansion as part of the Boston region. It was twice named "Best Place to Live in America" in annual surveys by Money magazine. It is the only city to get the No. 1 ranking on two occasions—in 1987 and 1998.
The area was part of a 200-square-mile (520 km2) tract of land in Massachusetts called "Dunstable", which had been awarded to Edward Tyng of Dunstable, England. Nashua lies approximately in the center of the original 1673 grant. In 1732, Dunstable was split along the Merrimack River, with the town of Nottingham (now the town of Hudson, New Hampshire) created out of the eastern portion. The previously disputed boundary between Massachusetts and New Hampshire was fixed in 1741 when the governorships of the two provinces were separated. As a result, the township of Dunstable was divided in two. Tyngsborough and some of Dunstable remained in Massachusetts, while Dunstable, New Hampshire, was incorporated in 1746 from the northern section of the town.
Located at the confluence of the Nashua and Merrimack rivers, Dunstable was first settled about 1654 as a fur trading town. Like many 19th century riverfront New England communities, it would be developed during the Industrial Revolution with textile mills operated from water power. By 1836, the Nashua Manufacturing Company had built three cotton mills which produced 9.3 million yards of cloth annually on 710 looms. On December 31, 1836, the New Hampshire half of Dunstable was renamed "Nashua", after the Nashua River, by a declaration of the New Hampshire legislature (the Dunstable name lives on across the Massachusetts border). The Nashua River was named by the Nashuway Indians, and in the Penacook language it means "beautiful stream with a pebbly bottom", with an alternative meaning of "land between two rivers". In 1842 the town split again in two for eleven years following a dispute between the area north of the Nashua, and the area south of the river. During that time the northern area (today "French Hill") called itself "Nashville", while the southern part kept the name Nashua. They reconciled in 1853 and joined together to charter the "city of Nashua". Six railroad lines crossed the mill town, namely the Boston, Lowell and Nashua; Worcester and Nashua; Nashua and Acton; Nashua and Wilton; Concord and Nashua; and Rochester railroads; with 56 trains entering and departing daily in the years before the Civil War. These various railroads led to all sections of the country, north, east, south, and west. The Jackson Manufacturing Company employed hundreds of workers in the 1870s.
Like the rival Amoskeag Manufacturing Company upriver in Manchester, the Nashua mills prospered until about World War I, after which a slow decline set in. Water power was replaced with newer forms of energy to run factories. Cotton could be manufactured into fabric where it grew, saving transportation costs. The textile business started moving to the South during the Great Depression, with the last mill closing in 1949. Many citizens were left unemployed. But then Sanders Associates, a newly created defense firm that is now part of BAE Systems, moved into one of the closed mills and launched the city's rebirth. Besides being credited with reviving the city's economy, Sanders Associates also played a key role in the development of the home video game console market. Ralph H. Baer, an employee of Sanders, developed what would become the Magnavox Odyssey, the first commercial home video game system. The arrival of Digital Equipment Corp. (now part of Hewlett-Packard) in the 1970s made the city part of the Boston-area high-tech corridor.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.9 square miles (82.6 km2), of which 30.8 square miles (79.9 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.7 km2) is water, comprising 3.25% of the city. The eastern boundary of Nashua is formed by the Merrimack River, and the city is drained by the Nashua River and Salmon Brook, tributaries of the Merrimack. The Nashua River roughly bisects the city. Pennichuck Brook forms the city's northern boundary. The highest point in Nashua is Gilboa Hill in the southern part of the city, at 426 feet (130 m) above sea level.
Nashua has a four-season humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb), with long, cold, snowy winters, and very warm and somewhat humid summers; spring and autumn in between are relatively brief transitions. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 22.7 °F (−5.2 °C) in January to 70.9 °F (21.6 °C) in July. On average, there are 9.4 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs and 8.7 days of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows. Precipitation is well-spread throughout the year, though winter is the driest. Snowfall, the heaviest of which typically comes from nor'easters, averages around 55 inches (140 cm) per season, but can vary widely from year to year.
As of the census of 2010, there were 86,494 people, 35,044 households, and 21,876 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,719.9 people per square mile (1,050.2/km2). There were 37,168 housing units at an average density of 1,202.8 per square mile (464.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.4% White, 2.7% African American, 0.3% Native American, 6.5% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 4.6% from some other race, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.8% of the population.
There were 35,044 households, out of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.9% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.6% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the city the population was spread out, with 22.1% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.8 males.
In 2011 the estimated median income for a household in the city was $60,923, and the median income for a family was $76,612. Male full-time workers had a median income of $60,365 versus $43,212 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,937. About 4.6% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.
The city's government is headed by a mayor and fifteen aldermen: six at-large aldermen elected three at a time every four years, and nine ward aldermen, one for each ward in the city, elected every two years.
In the New Hampshire General Court, Nashua is represented in the House by Hillsborough County's 20th (Ward 1), 21st (Ward 2), 22nd (Ward 3), 23rd (Ward 4), 24th (Ward 6), 25th (Ward 7) and 26th (Wards 5, 8 and 9) districts and in the Senate by District 12 (Wards 1, 2, and 5, shared with Hollis, Mason, Brookline, Greenville, New Ipswich, and Rindge) and District 13 (Wards 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9).
In the New Hampshire Senate, Nashua is represented by two state senators:
In the New Hampshire Executive Council, Nashua is included within the 5th District and is currently represented by Republican Dave Wheeler. Nashua is included within New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district and is currently represented by Democrat Ann McLane Kuster in the U.S. House of Representatives.
At the presidential level, Nashua leans strongly towards Democrats. George H.W. Bush was the last Republican presidential nominee to win Nashua in 1988.
The fire department of Nashua, Nashua Fire, has 176 full-time members and is responsible for 31.9 square miles (83 km2), protecting a population of 87,259. In the city, there are six stations. There is one fire chief, one assistant chief, and four deputy chiefs. The department has six engines, three ladder trucks, one haz-mat/rescue truck (known as Special Hazards 1), two brush trucks, two spare engines, and one spare ladder truck. Nashua uses a private ambulance service, AMR (American Medical Response). The department has five fire commissioners. The commission has overall responsibility for the policy decisions, promotions, discipline, hiring and terminations. The fire chief reports directly to the commission. Their responsibility is to also work with Fire Administration with planning and prioritizing the department budget.
Nashua has three main commercial districts. Centered on Main Street near the geographic center of the city, Downtown Nashua is the oldest of the commercial districts, featuring commercial, entertainment, and dining venues, near historic commercial buildings and homes as well. Recent plans have incorporated the Nashua River into the design of a pedestrian-friendly walkway. The downtown Nashua Riverwalk is a large, public/private venture funded through the use of tax increment financing (TIF). Amherst Street (Route 101A) is in the northwestern part of the city and is a large thoroughfare with commercial centers along both sides. The South Nashua Commercial District, centered on Daniel Webster Highway near the Massachusetts border, is anchored by the Pheasant Lane Mall, attracting many people from Massachusetts taking advantage of the lack of sales tax in New Hampshire.
The city is home to a number of technical firms, including Nashua Corporation, which took its name from the city and river. Nashua Corp. was a leading producer of floppy disks through the early 1990s, making the Nashua name well known in the world of personal computers.
Defense contractor BAE Systems (formerly Sanders Associates), computer firm Dell, and software company Oracle Corporation are the largest representatives of the high-tech industry prominent in the region. The Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center is in Nashua. The three-building campus that once housed a Digital Equipment Corporation software development facility was sold to the John Flatley Company, which has renamed it "Nashua Technology Park".
In 2015, after four years of construction, the city completed the Broad Street Parkway, which connects Exit 6 of the Everett Turnpike to the city's downtown area ("Tree Streets" neighborhood), with the goal of easing traffic congestion and opening up Nashua's old mill-yard as part of the city's economic development. The new parkway provides a third crossing of the Nashua River and a way for traffic to avoid Library Hill, a busy downtown intersection. The idea of a road connecting Broad Street with Hollis Street within the city had been discussed since the 1960s.
The city is currently working with Renaissance Downtowns, a Plainville, New York, development company, to develop a mixed commercial and residential development on 26 acres (11 ha) of city- and privately owned land off Bridge Street. A riverfront location and proximity to downtown have made the site attractive to developers. The property is 1⁄2 mile (800 m) from Main Street and lies along the Nashua and Merrimack rivers near Veterans Memorial Bridge, the eastern gateway to the city.
The Everett Turnpike is the major highway running through the city. U.S. Route 3 follows the turnpike from the Massachusetts border north to Exit 7E, where it branches to the northeast along the two-lane Henri A. Burque Highway to Concord Street and then heads north into the town of Merrimack. Other New Hampshire state highways in the city include:
Maps of the Nashua area often show a stretch of freeway forming a circumferential highway through Nashua and the neighboring town of Hudson. Only a small section of the south end of this highway (Exit 2 off U.S. Route 3) has been built, and it is unclear whether the highway will ever be completed. If finished, the Nashua-Hudson Circumferential Highway would be part of the Everett Turnpike, and would rejoin the mainline highway at a hypothetical Exit 9 in northern Nashua.
Public transportation is provided by the Nashua Transit System, which has nine scheduled bus routes in the city. Boston Express, a subsidiary of Concord Coach Lines, operates a Nashua-Boston bus line that runs out of the Nashua Transit Center off Exit 8 on the Everett Turnpike. This line transports passengers to South Station and Logan International Airport in Boston.
Nashua Airport (Boire Field), a general aviation facility, is in the city's northwest corner. The nearest airports with scheduled airline service are Manchester–Boston Regional Airport in Manchester and Logan International Airport in Boston.
Historically, Nashua was a hub for the trolley system in New Hampshire. Trolleys could be taken south to Boston, as well as north into Manchester and to locations as far east as Hampton, New Hampshire. The trolley also connected different areas of the city, with the Nashua line ending at the city dance hall. The trolley system decreased in popularity in the 20th century, finally closing in 1932.
Efforts are being made to extend the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's commuter rail Lowell Line from Lowell to Nashua. The state legislature created the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority (NHRTA) in 2007 with the goal of overseeing the development of commuter rail in the state. Currently, proposed commuter rail stops include Nashua, Manchester, and Concord.
The Board of Aldermen signed a memorandum of understanding, on October 11, 2017, with the Boston Surface Railroad Company in the creation of a commuter rail line in the near future. The proposed line would connect Lowell, Massachusetts, to Bedford, New Hampshire, with the end station being near the Manchester–Boston Regional Airport.
The local newspaper is The Telegraph, with daily news published online and a weekly printed edition.
Nashua radio stations include oldies station WGHM 900 AM (ESPN affiliate), talk station WSMN 1590 AM, and 106.3 WFNQ, a classic hits station owned by Binnie Media. WEVS 88.3 and 90.3 serve as the stations for New Hampshire Public Radio. The city is part of the Manchester radio market and can also receive almost all Boston-market stations clearly.
One television station is licensed to Nashua. WBTS-CD (channel 15) is owned by NBC Owned Television Stations, and serves as the NBC owned-and-operated station for the Boston market. The station moved from its own transmitter to a channel share with PBS member station WGBX-TV from their Needham, Massachusetts tower in 2018 upon NBC's assumption of ownership, letting it broadcast the "NBC Boston" service (previously carried by a low-power station in Boston and subchannels of other stations) across the entire market. As WYCN-CD, it formerly carried a number of smaller networks, along with local programming and community calendar information of interest to Nashuans, until the sale to NBC.
In the 2000 U.S Census, 22,700 residents over age three were enrolled in a Nashua educational institution, approximately a fourth of the city.
In 2004, Nashua's public high school was split into Nashua High School South (home of the Purple Panthers, opened in 1976 and rebuilt/reopened in 2004) and the new Nashua High School North (home of the Titans, opened in 2002) off Broad Street.
Before Nashua High School (now Nashua High School South) opened in 1976, what is now Elm Street Middle School was the city's high school. With the new high school opening in 1976, the old high school became Elm Street Junior High School. In 2004, the school became Elm Street Middle School, after a citywide reorganization of grades: Nashua's elementary schools went from [K]-1-6 to [K]-1-5, and junior high schools serving grades 7-9 were replaced by middle schools serving grades 6-8. Elm Street is still commonly referred to as Elm St. Junior High by many city residents and officials.
Daniel Webster College (DWC) closed in May 2017 after its parent company ITT Tech declared bankruptcy. Its campus was adjacent to the Nashua Airport. Southern New Hampshire University agreed to absorb DWC's faculty and academic programs, and placed the winning bid for DWC's flight center, tower building, and hangar.
Nashua has had a series of amateur, semi-professional, and professional baseball teams. The Nashua Silver Knights, part of a summer collegiate league, is the city's current team. The Nashua Pride, a Can-Am minor league baseball team, played at Holman Stadium from 1998 through 2008, then changed to the American Defenders of New Hampshire in the 2009 season. The Defenders were evicted from the venue in August 2009, however, because of non-payment of rent, and moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts to become the Pittsfield Colonials. Before the Pride, Holman was the home stadium for the independent Nashua Hawks; the AA Nashua Pirates; the AA Nashua Angels; and the A Nashua Dodgers, the first racially integrated professional baseball team in the 20th century.
A few episodes of the US television show The Office were set in a fictional Nashua branch of Dunder Mifflin as Michael Scott's love interest and future wife, Holly Flax, lives in Nashua after being transferred. The character Pam Beesly joked that the Nashua branch "is only accessible through cross country skiing".
In an episode of the second season of The West Wing, "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part II", during a flashback Josh Lyman visits a town hall meeting in Nashua to see a candidate he could support. The candidate turns out to be Josiah Bartlet, the next President of the United States.