In 1846 Capt. Peter E. Hadley conceived the idea and began agitation of the subject of a railroad from Manchester to Goffstown, and the following year the Goffstown and Manchester Railroad was incorporated, extending from Goffstown West Village to Manchester. The incorporators were John Smith, Peter E. Hadley, David Steele and others.

The incorporators did not receive the satisfactory encouragement which they had anticipated, and the following year, June 24, 1848, the New Hampshire Central Railroad was incorporated, to extend from the city of Manchester through the towns of Bedford, Goffstown, Weare, Henniker, Bradford, Newbury, Wendell (now Sunapee), Newport to Claremont, connecting with the Sullivan Road. The New Hampshire Central Railroad Company by the terms of their charter were authorized to make use of the charter granted the year before to Smith, Hadley and others; and also to make such arrangements thereof as "may be deemed" for the said Central Railroad Company.

The Central Railroad Company did make such arrangements as "may be deemed" for the Central Railroad Company, and followed that clause of their charter to all intents and purposes. The original intention of the incorporators of the New Hampshire Central Railroad was a line from White River Junction to Manchester, which route as proposed was twelve miles shorter than by the way of Concord over the northern railroad.

The incorporators met at Bradford August 3, 1848, and Hon. Mason W. Tappan of Bradford was chosen temporary clerk, and they adjourned to meet at Henniker October 5. When they met at Henniker, our townsman, David Steele, was chosen president of the board of directors, and Mason W. Tappan permanent clerk. A subsequent meeting was holden November 1, and the directors "voted to proceed with the building and construction of the road."

Stock books were at once opened and $300,000 subscribed. Francis Chase, a civil engineer, had in August, 1848, began a preliminary survey, and the road was built under his direction and supervision. Contracts were Photo: Depot, Parkers let early in January, and a firm by the name of Cahill and Stackpole did the Goffstown grading, and Eliphalet Richards of Goffstown contracted for the stone work at this end of the line. The depot at Parker's Station was built by J. M. and D. A. Parker.

The road was completed and the cars ran to Oil Mills, now Riverdale, in February, 1850, and the following December opened to Henniker. This was twenty-four years after the first railroad actually built in the United States was in operation, which was built (1826) to carry granite from the quarry in Quincy, Mass., to Neponset River, and twenty-two years after the commencement of the construction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and twenty years after the first locomotive was built in the United States.

When the road was first opened and until 1869 the trains were operated as mixed trains. Robert Moore was the first conductor and held the position about three years; Charles Hurlburt succeeded him for a brief period, and in December, 1855, Charles W. Everett was appointed, who held the position until health failed him. He was looked upon as an inseparable part of the road; kind, courteous and obliging Mr. Everett was held in high esteem by the travelling public, and without speaking disparagingly of any of his successors, in the minds of the Goffstown travelling public his place has never been filled.

The original cost of the road was over one-half million dollars, which left a debt over and above the stock subscribed of $200,000, and the stockholders "voted to issue bonds for that amount and mortgage the road for security." The New Hampshire Central Railroad was unsuccessful from the first; the Concord, Northern and Contoocook Valley Railroads had an antipathy against it, and antagonized it. It did not earn money enough to meet the running expenses to say nothing of dividends on stock and bonds. In 1853 it was consolidated with the Concord and Claremont. This consolidation was no improvement and of short duration, and it was operated for a time thereafter by the Northern Railroad.

The next move for the bad was the operation of the road by Joseph A. Gilmore, Superintendent of the Concord Railroad. On Sunday, October 31, 1858, Gilmore tore up the rails from Henniker to North Weare, a distance of six miles, using the material for his own especial benefit. For this act he was ever afterwards censured by the people on the line of the road. This was done under the guise of a law passed through the influence of Gilmore and others authorizing it.

This year the road was rechartered under the name of the Manchester and North Weare Railroad, under which name it has since been operated, and only a formal organization has been maintained.

March 13, 1860, at the annual town meeting in Goffstown the following vote was passed: "Voted that the representatives from the town of Goffstown be instructed and they hereby are requested to vote in the legislature for the repeal of the law which authorizes and allows the owners and proprietors to remove the rails and abandon that portion of the New Hampshire Central Railroad which lies between the city of Manchester and North Weare, and said representatives are further instructed to use all lawful means to procure the repeal of the law."

For a number of years it was operated by the Central Railroad, and since the lease to the Boston and Maine by that corporation. The route selected from Goffstown Village to Manchester was difficult of construction and expensive. Active residents of the town at that time pointed out to Mr. Chase, the engineer, a much more feasible route upon the northerly side of the Piscataquog River, and where the road should have been built. Deep cuts of earth and stone and heavy fills could have been avoided, and the patronage of the road from Goffstown vastly better accommodated.

Serious washouts resulting from heavy freshets have at times delayed the traffic over the road, and materially affected business, prominent among which was one near the residence of the late William P. Warren, which accounts for the present sweep of the road to the south; another on land of Hillsborough County Farm, and a third across the Mystic Brook, all of which by the north side route would have been avoided.

There were originally three depots in Goffstown: Parker's, Goffstown and Goffstown Center. The first and last Photo: Depot, Goffstown named have each been burned and their places supplied by new and more convenient ones. The original depot at Goffstown Village is now the freight depot. The present passenger station is located on the original site.

The rails were relaid in 1893 on the original roadbed from North Weare to Henniker Junction, and from that point the road of the original Contoocook Valley is utilized to Hillsborough. The New Boston Railroad forms a junction with the Manchester and North Weare at Parker's, and the Manchester and Milford at Grasmere Junction.

Four passenger trains and one freight pass each way over the road at the present time (1919) from Parker's to Manchester. Since the relaying of the rails from North Weare to Henniker and running the trains to Hillsborough the road has been a great accommodation to the travelling public. A milk car was added to the train in 1870, whereby large quantities of milk from the towns along the line of the road and those adjacent are daily transported to Boston, affording a very important revenue to the farmers.


February 19, 1891, Joseph R. Whipple of Boston, Mass., John M. Parker of Goffstown, David A. Taggart of Manchester, Edward H. Wason, Butler T. Hills, George A. Wason and others of New Boston were incorporated under the name of the New Boston Railroad Company, and were authorized to construct a railroad from some convenient point on the Manchester and North Weare Railroad in the town of Goffstown to a convenient point in the town of New Boston.

By the act of the incorporation the capital stock should not exceed $100,000, and the corporation could issue bonds secured by a mortgage to the amount of that paid in capital stock. The preliminary survey was made in the fall of 1891 by the firm of Bartlett, Gay and Young of Manchester, and in 1892 the road was constructed under the supervision of John W. Storrs, engineer of the Concord Railroad. The road was formally opened June 22, 1893, with appropriate exercises. The train conveying the officials of the road and other distinguished guests arrived in New Boston at 11.30 A. M., when a procession was formed, headed by the New Boston Brass Band, which marched to the church on the meeting-house hill.

Attorney-General James P. Tuttle acted as president of the day. Prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Bartlett, pastor of the Baptist Church, following which Lorenzo S. Fairbanks of Boston, formerly of New Boston, delivered the oration. Dinner was served in a large tent upon the Common, in which 1,000 people were banqueted. After Photo: New Hampshire Central House, Goffstown dinner the audience adjourned to the church where the exercises were resumed and remarks were made by George A. Wason of New Boston, Ex-Gov. Hiram A. Tuttle of Pittsfield, Judge David Cross of Manchester, Senator Jacob H. Gallinger of Concord, Hon. Charles H. Burns of Wilton, Hon. George A. Ramsdell, Jeremiah J. Doyle of Nashua and others.

The road extends from a point on the Manchester and North Weare Road where the same crosses the Gorham Brook at Parker's Station in Goffstown to New Boston Village, a distance of about six miles. That part of the New Boston Railroad which extends from the Manchester and North Weare Railroad to the north branch of the Piscataquog River is in Goffstown, the remainder in New Boston. Two daily trains each way run over the road, and the same serve a very important purpose to the people of New Boston.


In 1889 the Boston and Maine Railroad secured a chatter for the layout and building of a railroad to connect Manchester and Milford, which is known as the Manchester and Milford Railroad. The road runs from a point on the Manchester and North Weare Road just east of Grasmere Junction through the towns of Goffstown, Bedford, Merrimack Amherst and Milford to Milford Village.

The new track is eighteen and one-half miles long, and cost $190,500. The road was constructed principally in the year 1900 and was opened for traffic December 31, 1900. The construction of this road and the electric railroad occasioned the building of a new highway from the intersection of the Richards Road with the Mast Road to a point on the Mast Road near the residence of George W. Fellows, and likewise the construction of an overhead bridge over the Manchester and Milford Railroad.

This highway and bridge were laid out by the railroad commissioners of New Hampshire, and the expense of construction was borne by the Railroad Corporation. That part of the Milford Railroad in Goffstown extends from the point of intersection with the North Weare Railroad southerly to Bedford line near the residence of the late Michael Boynton, a distance of about two miles.


Through the year of 1896 the subject of an electric road extending from Goffstown Village to Manchester deeply moved the inhabitants of Goffstown Village and those to the west.

The same was brought before the legislature in 1897. On the 23rd of March of this year a bill was introduced by Representative John W. Hoit of Goffstown to incorporate the Goffstown and Manchester Street Railway. The matter came up before the committee on railroads and the following, among other facts, developed: That the people of Goffstown would be accommodated by the building of the road; that it would parallel the Boston and Maine Railroad from Manchester to Goffstown; that the bill seeks to confer too much authority upon the grantees, and if passed in its present form would allow the paralleling of the Manchester Street Railway; that there was occasion for a street railway line to a point near St. Anselm's College, but this could be built by the Manchester Street Railway under the general electric law.

The committee returned the bill to the House with the resolution that it be in definitely postponed; the same was made a special order upon a subsequent day and the resolution was passed by a vote of nearly two to one.

On the 1st day of March, 1899, an act was passed by the legislature authorizing the Manchester Street Railway to extend and construct its railway to Goffstown Village. For the purpose of constructing and equipping this line, the Manchester Street Railway could increase its capital stock to the amount of $100,000, and the road must be completed by September 1, 1900.

The construction of the electric road was commenced in 1899, and the road was completed to a point near where West Union Street intersects with the Mast Road in 1900, and in 1901 extended across the river to its present terminus. The road was formally opened July 24, 1900, and the first car running over the road arrived Photo: Engine House, Goffstown in Goffstown Village at eleven o'clock upon that day, and contained the mayor, city government of Manchester, officials of the street railway and other distinguished citizens. Upon the arrival a salute was fired from the old cannon "Molly Stark."

The town hall and other public buildings and many private residences were handsomely decorated. Dinner was served in the town hall and the banquet halls of the different societies. A procession was formed which marched through the principal streets. At two o'clock in the afternoon the exercises began in the town hall, and the audience were welcomed by George Pattee, chairman of the board of selectmen, who was president of the occasion. Remarks were made by Judge Samuel Upton, Dr. Charles F. George, William C. Clark, mayor of Manchester, William A. Tucker, president of road, David A. Taggart, Arthur H. Parker, Hon. Cyrus A. Sulloway, Judge Henry E. Burnham and others. In the evening there was a fine display of fireworks which lasted for nearly two hours. Stark's Cornet Band rendered appropriate music for the occasion.

The visitors were very enthusiastic over courtesies extended and the entertainment, and all were unanimous in the sentiment that the celebration was a splendid success.

The opening of the electric road from Goffstown to Manchester marked the beginning of an important era in Goffstown. There was no longer inaccessibility of the city; remoteness was exchanged for propinquity, infrequency of visitation for frequency. The road is a great convenience not only to the people residing upon the line but to those remote and residents of the neighboring towns, and its importance is realized more and more each succeeding year.


On the 25th of March, 1903, certain citizens of Manchester and towns of New Hampshire were incorporated under the name of the Uncanoonuc Incline Railway and Development Company, and were given power under their charter to construct, maintain and operate an electric railway from some point near Shirley Station to the Photo: The Uncanoonuc Mountain House summit of the Uncanoonuc Mountains, and also to construct suitable buildings upon the summit for the convenience of the travelling public, all of which must be constructed within two years.

In February, 1905, the time was extended until March 25, 1907, for the building of the road, and the legislature also granted them the right to make physical connection with the Manchester Street Railway. The electric cars of each corporation could be run over the lines of the other as per agreement of parties.

On the 5th of August, 1905, authority was granted to the officials of the road by the selectmen of Goffstown to connect with the Manchester Street Railway at a point near Shirley Station. The road first traverses the highway for a short distance, and then through private land parallels the Shirley Hill Road to a point near the Orr buildings, crossing the same and following through private land to the Cram Road, crossing this near the easterly line of the Cram land. The road then parallels the Cram Road on the southerly side to the road leading Photo: Uncanoon Incline Railway from the residence of the late Joseph Cram to that of J. R. Ferson, and crossing this extends to the base of the mountain. Here is located the base station, upon what was formerly known as the Ephraim Roberts farm, afterwards owned by Samuel Orr.

The incline road extends from the base station to the summit, and the cars are run up and down the incline road by a cable passing over pulleys, and a turnout is equidistant from base to summit. The first cars were run over the electric line in 1905, and up the incline road in 1907. Since the opening of the incline railway thousands of people from all parts of the United States have visited the mountain, and enjoyed the scenery of the surrounding country.


ALHN Hillsborough County

Email Kathy Chapter 27
History of Goffstown
Hillsborough County
ALHN-New Hampshire
Created August 29, 2001
Copyright 2000, 2001