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Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
The Sunset Hill House, Sugar Hill, c. 1910
The Sunset Hill House, Sugar Hill, c. 1910
Location in Grafton County, New Hampshire
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Grafton
Incorporated 1962
 • Total 17.23 sq mi (44.63 km2)
 • Land 17.05 sq mi (44.16 km2)
 • Water 0.18 sq mi (0.47 km2)  1.06%
1,325 ft (404 m)
 • Total 647
 • Density 38/sq mi (14.7/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 603
FIPS code 33-74740
GNIS feature ID 0873730

Sugar Hill is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 647 at the 2020 census, up from 563 at the 2010 census. The town overlooks the White Mountain National Forest, with views of the Presidential, Franconia, Kinsman and Dalton ranges. Sugar Hill was incorporated as a town in 1962, the most recent in New Hampshire.


This town is New Hampshire's second youngest, having incorporated in 1962 (the township of Hart's Location in Carroll County incorporated as a town in 2001) out of the town of Lisbon after considerable litigation. The name "Sugar Hill" comes from a large grove of sugar maples in the hills.

With clean air and panoramic views from atop Sunset Hill Ridge of both the White Mountains and Green Mountains, the community became a fashionable Victorian resort. First attracted by paintings of White Mountain artists, the wealthy arrived by train to escape the heat, humidity and pollution of summers in Boston, Hartford, New York and Philadelphia. Several hostelries were built, including the Hotel Lookoff. But the grandest was the Sunset Hill House, built in 1880 after rail service arrived in neighboring Lisbon Village (Sunset Hill Station). With the longest porch on a single side in New Hampshire, the Second Empire hotel accommodated 350 guests and 300 staff. Patrons found amusement in the casino, bowling alley, or on carriage rides touring nearby Franconia Notch. Built in 1897, the 9-hole Sugar Hill House Golf Course, together with its 1900 clubhouse, are the oldest in the state and today listed on the National Register. Bobby Jones played the links.

With the advent of automobiles came a decline in grand hotels, however, as tourists were no longer restricted by the limits of rail service. The Sunset Hill House remained open until 1973, longer than many of its type in the region. But it closed at season's end, when the furnishings were sold at auction. The aging structure was demolished in 1974, although its annex survived and was purchased in 2013 by new owners, to reopen in 2015 as "The Inn at Sunset Hill".

Otto Lang Peckett's 1936
Otto Lang, ski instructor, on slope near Peckett's Inn - 1936

Peckett's-on-Sugar Hill

Robert P. Peckett, Sr. acquired land on Sugar Hill around 1900 and founded the Peckett's-on-Sugar Hill Inn. While hosting winter guests early in the century, the need for increased clientele prompted him, with the assistance of his daughter, Katherine "Kate" Peckett, to establish the first resort-based ski school in the United States The first two ski instructors were German; they introduced the Arlberg technique developed by Hannes Schneider St. Anton. In 1931, Sig Buchmayr joined the staff. Kate Peckett brought in several more European instructors including Otto Lang to teach the Arlberg system. Among pupils were Nelson Rockefeller, Averell Harriman, Lowell Thomas, Minot Dole and Roger Peabody. Subsequent efforts by Kate, the CCC and others resulted in the development of the Taft Ski Trail and other facilities on the Cannon Mountain Ski Area.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 17.2 square miles (44.5 km2), of which 17.0 square miles (44.0 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km2) is water, comprising 1.06% of the town. Sugar Hill is drained by the Gale River and other tributaries of the Ammonoosuc River. The town is crossed by New Hampshire Route 117. Interstate 93 and New Hampshire Route 18 pass through the northeast corner of the town. The highest point in town is the summit of Bronson Hill, at 2,078 feet (633 m) above sea level.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1970 336
1980 397 18.2%
1990 464 16.9%
2000 563 21.3%
2010 563 0.0%
2020 647 14.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
Sugar Hill Meetinghouse
Sugar Hill Meetinghouse, listed on the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places

As of the census of 2000, there were 563 people, 258 households, and 164 families residing in the town. The population density was 32.9 people per square mile (12.7/km2). There were 385 housing units at an average density of 22.5 per square mile (8.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 98.40% White, 1.24% Asian, and 0.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.18% of the population.

There were 258 households, out of which 22.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 4.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were non-families. 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.72.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 18.1% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 33.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $49,219, and the median income for a family was $60,288. Males had a median income of $36,667 versus $25,714 for females. The per capita income for the town was $29,743. About 4.3% of families and 5.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including none of those under age 18 and 10.6% of those age 65 or over.

Sites of interest

  • The first resort-based ski school in the U.S. was opened in 1929 at Peckett's-on-Sugar Hill.
  • Polly's Pancake Parlor, a James Beard Foundation American Classic

Notable people

  • Bette Davis (1908–1989), actress (summer visitor)
  • Ernest Poole (1880–1950), novelist
  • Potter Stewart (1915–1985), Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court
  • Harlan Fiske Stone (1872–1946), Chief Justice of the United States
  • William C. Sullivan (1912–1977), FBI agent, killed in a hunting accident on November 9, 1977, in Sugar Hill
  • Mary Parker Woodworth (1849–1919), writer, speaker

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