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Walpole, New Hampshire
Town
Town Hall in 2019
Town Hall in 2019
Location in Cheshire County, New Hampshire
Coordinates: 43°04′46″N 72°25′33″W / 43.07944°N 72.42583°W / 43.07944; -72.42583Coordinates: 43°04′46″N 72°25′33″W / 43.07944°N 72.42583°W / 43.07944; -72.42583
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Cheshire
Incorporated 1756
Villages Walpole
North Walpole
Drewsville
Area
 • Total 36.7 sq mi (95.0 km2)
 • Land 35.2 sq mi (91.2 km2)
 • Water 1.4 sq mi (3.7 km2)  3.94%
Elevation
400 ft (100 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 3,633
 • Density 103/sq mi (39.8/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP codes
03608 (Walpole)
03604 (Drewsville)
03609 (North Walpole)
Area code(s) 603
FIPS code 33-78420
GNIS feature ID 0873744

Walpole is a town in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 3,633 at the 2020 census.

The town's central village, where 573 people resided at the 2020 census, is defined as the Walpole census-designated place (CDP) and is east of New Hampshire Route 12. The town also includes the villages of North Walpole and Drewsville.

History

The town was first granted in 1736 by Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher of Massachusetts as Number 3, third in a line of Connecticut River fort towns. It would be settled as early as 1736, and called Great Falls or Lunenburg. Colonel Benjamin Bellows, for whom Bellows Falls, Vermont, is named, built a large fort here for defense against Indian attack. After the border between Massachusetts and New Hampshire was fixed (with Number 3 on the New Hampshire side of the line), the town was regranted by Governor Benning Wentworth as Bellowstown, after its founder. It would be incorporated in 1756. The grant was renewed in 1761, when the town was renamed Walpole, in honor of Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, and first Prime Minister of Great Britain.

The first bridge across the Connecticut River, an engineering feat in its day, was built at Walpole in 1785, and is regarded as one of the most famous early spans in the United States. The town contains many architecturally significant old houses, including several associated with Colonel Bellows and members of his family. Walpole Academy, built in 1831 and attributed to master-builder Aaron Prentiss Howland, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The abundant lilacs in the town inspired Louisa May Alcott to write the 1878 book Under the Lilacs.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.7 square miles (95 km2), of which 35.2 square miles (91 km2) is land and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) is water, comprising 4.16% of the town. The town is drained by the Connecticut River, which forms the western border of the town and is also the state border with Vermont. The northern part of Walpole is drained by the Cold River, a tributary of the Connecticut. The highest point in town is the summit of Derry Hill, at 1,663 feet (507 m) above sea level.

Walpole is served by state routes 12 and 123.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 1,245
1800 1,743 40.0%
1810 1,894 8.7%
1820 2,020 6.7%
1830 1,974 −2.3%
1840 2,015 2.1%
1850 2,034 0.9%
1860 1,868 −8.2%
1870 1,830 −2.0%
1880 2,018 10.3%
1890 2,163 7.2%
1900 2,693 24.5%
1910 2,668 −0.9%
1920 2,553 −4.3%
1930 2,287 −10.4%
1940 2,400 4.9%
1950 2,536 5.7%
1960 2,825 11.4%
1970 2,966 5.0%
1980 3,188 7.5%
1990 3,210 0.7%
2000 3,594 12.0%
2010 3,734 3.9%
2020 3,633 −2.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 3,734 people, 1,576 households, and 1,036 families residing in the town. There were 1,715 housing units, of which 139, or 8.1%, were vacant. The racial makeup of the town was 97.3% white, 0.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.2% some other race, and 1.5% from two or more races. 1.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 1,576 households, 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were headed by married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.2% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37, and the average family size was 2.86.

In the town, 21.8% of the population were under the age of 18, 6.2% were from 18 to 24, 22.9% from 25 to 44, 31.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.0 males.

For the period 2011–2015, the estimated median annual income for a household was $66,613, and the median income for a family was $77,802. Male full-time workers had a median income of $49,141 versus $33,566 for females. The per capita income for the town was $35,071. 5.8% of the population and 4.8% of families were below the poverty line. 8.0% of the population under the age of 18 and 3.4% of those 65 or older were living in poverty.

Notable people

Street Scene, Walpole, NH
Street scene c. 1915
  • Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888), writer, educator, philosopher
  • Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), writer
  • Glover Morrill Allen (1879–1942), zoologist
  • Ken Burns (b. 1953), documentary filmmaker
  • Davis Carpenter (1799–1878), US congressman
  • Herman M. Chapin (1823–1879), mayor of Cleveland
  • Dayton Duncan (b. 1949), writer and documentary producer
  • Franklin Hooper (1851–1914), professor, president of Antioch College, founder of the Brooklyn Museum
  • Rev. Jonathan Leavitt (1731–1802), first minister, later dismissed by the town
  • Charles Holland Mason (1822–1894), politician, lawyer
  • Eliza Ann Otis (1833–1904), poet, journalist, philanthropist
  • Howard Petrie (1906–1968), radio, television, and film actor
  • Gary Smith (b. ), record producer
  • Roger Vose (1763–1841), US congressman
  • Horace Wells (1815–1848), pioneered anesthesia in dentistry, specifically the use of nitrous oxide

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