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Hillsborough, New Hampshire
Houses in historic Hillsborough Center
Houses in historic Hillsborough Center
Official seal of Hillsborough, New Hampshire
Location in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Hillsborough
Incorporated 1772
Villages Hillsborough
Hillsborough Center
Hillsborough Lower Village
Hillsborough Upper Village
Emerald Lake Village
 • Total 44.7 sq mi (115.8 km2)
 • Land 43.7 sq mi (113.2 km2)
 • Water 1.0 sq mi (2.6 km2)  2.24%
636 ft (194 m)
 • Total 5,939
 • Density 136/sq mi (52.5/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 603
FIPS code 33-36180
GNIS feature ID 0873625

Hillsborough, frequently spelled Hillsboro, is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 5,939 at the 2020 census. The town is home to Fox State Forest and part of Low State Forest.

The main village of the town, where 2,156 people resided at the 2020 census, is defined as the Hillsborough census-designated place (CDP), and is located along the Contoocook River at the junction of New Hampshire Route 149 with Henniker Street and Main Street. The town also includes the villages of Hillsborough Center, Hillsborough Upper Village, Hillsborough Lower Village, and Emerald Lake Village.


School Street, Hillsborough Bridge, NH
School Street in 1907

The town was first granted in 1735 by colonial governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire Jonathan Belcher as "Number Seven," one in a line of nine Massachusetts towns set up as defense barriers against Indian attacks. The towns were renamed after the border between the two provinces was fixed in 1739, placing the towns in New Hampshire. Settled in 1741, the town was granted in 1748 by Governor Benning Wentworth as "Hillsborough," named for Sir Wills Hill, Earl of Hillsborough. It would be incorporated in 1772 by Governor John Wentworth.

Hillsborough was the birthplace in 1804 of Franklin Pierce, 14th president of the United States, and the only president from New Hampshire. The Pierce Homestead was built in 1804 by his father, Benjamin Pierce, a general in the Revolutionary War, and twice governor of New Hampshire. Restored in 1925, the home was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house is today a museum owned by the state, and operated by the Hillsborough Historical Society.

Five granite arch bridges built during the 19th century in Hillsborough are designated as National Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks.

Railroad service was supplied to Hillsborough by the Boston and Maine Railroad from 1878 to 1972. Rail service north to Henniker had ceased in 1942, and Hillsborough became the end point on a line that once stretched in an arc from Nashua to Concord, New Hampshire. The rails in Hillsborough were torn up in 1979. Hillsborough was once home to an iconic railroad covered bridge and a curved wooden trestle, both of which burned due to arson in 1985 after rail service had ended. The Hillsborough Branch now ends at Bennington; the line from Bennington to Hillsborough is a rail trail.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 44.6 square miles (115.6 km2), of which 43.6 sq mi (113.0 km2) is land and 1.0 sq mi (2.6 km2) is water, comprising 2.23% of the town. The town center, or census-designated place, has a total area of 1.6 sq mi (4.2 km2).

The highest point in Hillsborough is Thompson Hill, at 1,768 feet (539 m) above sea level, in the northern part of town. Hillsborough is drained by the Contoocook River, in addition to Beard's and Sand brooks. Part of Franklin Pierce Lake is in the southwest. The town lies fully within the Merrimack River watershed.

Hillsborough is bordered by Windsor to the southwest, Washington to the northwest, Bradford to the north, Henniker to the east, and Antrim and Deering to the south.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 798
1800 1,311 64.3%
1810 1,592 21.4%
1820 1,982 24.5%
1830 1,792 −9.6%
1840 1,808 0.9%
1850 1,685 −6.8%
1860 1,623 −3.7%
1870 1,595 −1.7%
1880 1,646 3.2%
1890 2,120 28.8%
1900 2,254 6.3%
1910 2,168 −3.8%
1920 2,229 2.8%
1930 2,160 −3.1%
1940 2,269 5.0%
1950 2,179 −4.0%
1960 2,310 6.0%
1970 2,775 20.1%
1980 3,437 23.9%
1990 4,498 30.9%
2000 4,928 9.6%
2010 6,011 22.0%
2020 5,939 −1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
Contoocook Mills, Hillsborough Bridge, NH
Contoocook Mills in 1907

As of the census of 2010, there were 6,011 people, 2,392 households, and 1,614 families residing in the town. The population density was 137.9 people per square mile (53.2/km2). There were 2,896 housing units at an average density of 66.4 per square mile (25.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.4% White, 0.6% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.03% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 0.3% some other race, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.

There were 2,392 households, out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.2% were headed by married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.5% were non-families. 24.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.5% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51, and the average family size was 2.98.

HillsboroughNH GovJohnButlerSmithHouse
Gov. John Butler Smith Mansion, now the Community Building

In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.8% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 29.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.

For the period 2007–2011, the estimated median annual income for a household in the town was $54,386, and the median income for a family was $67,621. Male full-time workers had a median income of $43,583 versus $32,030 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,232. About 7.1% of families and 11.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.5% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.

Sites of interest


Hillsborough is part of School Administrative Unit (SAU) 34. Public schools serving the community of Hillsboro include:

  • Hillsboro-Deering Elementary School
  • Hillsboro-Deering Middle School
  • Hillsboro-Deering High School

Notable people

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Hillsborough (Nuevo Hampshire) para niños

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