Concord, New Hampshire

Concord, N.H., the capitol [sic] of the state, and shire town of the county of Merrimack. It lies on both sides of the Merrimack river, in N. lat. 43° 12' 29", and W. lon. 71° 29', and is 146 miles S.W. from Augusta, Me.; 97 S.E. from Montpelier, Vt.; 153 N.E. from Albany, N.Y.; 65 N.N.W. from Boston, Mass.; 103 N. from Providence, R.I.; 139 N.N.E. from Hartford, Conn., and 474 N.E. by E. from Washington. There are five ponds in Concord, the largest of which are Turkey, in the S.W., and Long pond in the N.W. parts of the town, on the streams passing from which are some valuable mills and privileges. The Contoocook river enters the W. corner of the town, and uniting with the Merrimack on the N.W. line, forms at its junction the celebrated Duston's Island. On the borders of the Merrimack, which is the principal river of this region, are rich intervale lands, highly valued by the inhabitants, and well cultivated. Soon after entering Concord, the river passes over Sewall's falls, or rapids, below which is Sewall's island. From thence the river has no natural obstruction until it reaches the falls at the S.E. extremity of the town, where is a water power, now owned by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, almost sufficient to move the machinery of another Lowell. — Locks are here constructed, and navigation by boats has been open since 1815 during the boating season, adding much to the business and importance of the place. The river is about 100 yards wide opposite the town; but during the great freshets which sometimes occur here, the river rises 20 feet above the ordinary level, presenting to the eye a body of body a mile in width. There are two handsome bridges thrown across the river.
     The principal village, and seat of most of the business of the town, is on the western side of the river, extending nearly two miles between the two bridges; and is one of the most healthy and pleasantly situated villages in New England. The state house, state prison and court house, and five very commodious and handsome structures for public worship, are in this village. The state house occupies a beautiful site in the centre of the village, and is constructed of hewn granite. It is 126 feet in length, 49 in width, 50 feet of the centre of the building having a projection of 4 feet on each front. It rises two stories above the basement. The height from the ground to the eagle on top of the cupola is 120 feet. The cost of the building and appendages, $80,000. The state prison is also a solid structure of massive granite. On the east side of the river is the second principal village, where the Sewall's Falls Locks and Canal Company, recently chartered, have commenced their works, which, by taking the waters of the river in a canal from Sewall's falls, will create a vast and valuable water power at this village, that must ultimately prove of immense importance to the town. Another handsome village has grown up in the west part of the town. The intercourse with Lowell and Boston, by way of the canal on the Merrimack, has been open since 1815, and a very large amount of business in freights has been done on the river. The Concord rail-road, to connect with the Lowell rail-road, has also been surveyed, and will doubtless soon be put in progress. This is a link in the great chain of northern railways, which must ultimately extend from Boston to connect with the western waters at the outlet of Lake Ontario. The importance of extending the rail-road to the heart of New Hampshire has by no means been fully estimated by the public. Concord is the great thoroughfare for travellers from the north, and the freight by horses and baggage wagons is immense.
     The soil of this town is generally good, and the intervales very productive. Large masses of granite suitable for the purposes of building exist here, the most important of which is The New Hampshire Ledge, a name by which in an act of incorporation an immense mass of granite in the N.W. part of the town has been designated. This ledge is situated about 1˝ miles N.W. of the state house, and about 200 rods distant from Merrimack river, which is navigable to this place with boats. The course of the ledge is from N.E. to S.W. and its rise about 45° from a plane of the horizon, and its height about 350 feet. It presents a surface of massive primitive granite, of more than 4,500 square rods. The rift of this stone is very perfect, smooth and regular; splits are easily made to a depth of 12 to 20 feet, and of almost any required length. And unlike much of the building stone now in the market, it has been ascertained by a recent examination (made by Mr. A.H. Hayes, of Roxbury, Mass., and other eminent chemists and geologists,) that the stone from this quarry is perfectly free from those oxides, or other mineral substances, which on exposure to the atmosphere, mar the beauty of much of the New England granite. This stone quarries easily; the great elevation and dip of the ledge, and its proximity to the river, giving it facilities of working and transportation, it is believed unequalled. From the base of the ledge to the bank of the Merrimack, a rail-way is contemplated, the proprietors of the ledge having already obtained a charter for that purpose. As the great facility of transportation by way of the river to the markets, becomes known, together with the fact, that the upward freight would, during a great portion of the year, go far towards remunerating the cost of transportation of this stone to the seaboard — the situation, extent, and value of this quarry will be seen and appreciated. On several large perpendicular faces of the ledge, protected by shelving rocks from vegetable stains, but exposed for ages perhaps to the atmosphere, the stone is found to be entirely clear from any coloring or stain, preserving its natural color. The amount of the whole mass, when wrought, can scarcely be estimated. This representation is derived from gentlemen of Concord not at all interested in the quarry, and is here given, with the sole qualification, that if the quality of the stone is as pure as is stated, there is no danger of over-estimating the value of the quarry. A specimen of this granite is with the editor for examination.
     Concord, originally called Penacook, was granted by Massachusetts to a company of settlers, 17th Jan., 1725, and the settlement began the year following. In 1733, the plantation was incorporated by the name of Rumford, which name it retained until 7th June, 1765, when the town was incorporated by its present name. This town suffered much from incursions of the savages. Several of the inhabitants were killed, and others taken into captivity, between the years 1740 and 1750. The manufactures of Concord are numerous and valuable. They consist of books, furniture of all kinds, boots, shoes, granite, lumber, and a variety of other articles. The manufacture of books is very extensie, and annually increasing.
     Population in 1775, 1,072; in 1790, 1,747; in 1800, 2,052; in 1810, 2,393; in 1820, 2,838; and in 1830, 3,727. The present population is between 4 and 5 thousand. …

— John Hayward, The New England Gazetteer, 1839.