While not as old as Europe, New England does have a past. In fact, our earliest settlers established a colony in the early 1600’s on what is now known as Odiorne State Park. Over the next couple of centuries the population spread and moved inland.
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s logging companies gobbled out thousands of acres in what is currently the White Mountains for pennies on the dollar. They clear-cut this land sending much of the logs they harvested south. Small towns sprung up as loggers and their families moved in to support the booming industry. Railroads extended their lines further north to take advantage of the situation, which made moving north even easier. As the logging industry began to dry up, so did the towns and the railroads until in many cases nothing was left except a few stone foundations and a sprinkling of cemeteries.
Livermore was once one of those logging communities. You can still find it on Google Maps. It was technically an unincorporated civil township that was created when the Saunders family started a logging camp in the area in 1874. By 1928, however, the last sawmill closed and the last resident left in 1949 essentially dissolving the town. The town is now part of the White Mountain National Forest.
The Kancamagus Highway drives right through part of Livermore, though you are unlikely to find any evidence of the former town unless you really search.
Back in the early 1700’s, the small town of Monson, NH was located on what is now the border of Hollis and Milford. It only lasted for forty years when the few hundred inhabitants left due to harsh conditions. Today, the land that was once Monson is a public park and historical center.
The town of Passaconaway also lies along the Kancamangus highway in the White Mountain National Forest in what is now known as Albany, NH. It once had its own hotel, sawmill and store all of which are now gone and forgotten.
Zealand was another logging town in the White Mountains owned by a gentleman by the name of J.E. Henry. Zealand had a sawmill and served two railroad stations. It also contained a post office, boarding house, store, school, charcoal kilns and various homes. All of which are now gone.
In addition to abandoned ghost towns, New Hampshire has its fair share of haunted places. In Concord, Margaritas Mexican Restaurant is in the same building as the old Concord jail from the 1800’s. You can still have dinner in what was once a jail cell. Creepy, right? Well some diners swear there is a ghost or two who will sip your drinks, move your chair and even throw food.
Cemeteries by their very nature are spooky places, but a few around the state have particular reputations. Pine Hill Cemetery in Hollis, NH, is such a place. The cemetery is nicknamed Blood Cemetery because of an entire family of Blood’s who are buried there. It is said that a young boy will run out in front of cars making them come to a screeching halt. Others have reported a brownish substance coming from some of the tombstones. Glowing orbs, strange noises and shadows have also been noticed.
The Mount Washington Hotel is the largest and one of the oldest grand hotels in New Hampshire. Its history starts in 1900 with Joseph Stickney who built the hotel for a whopping $1.7 million. Unfortunately, Mr. Stickney died within a year of the hotel opening. The hotel was expanded over the course of several decades and is today a National Historic Landmark.
The Bretton Woods Conference took place there, which established the World Bank and the IMF. Of course, something so old and so grand must be haunted, right? Of course. Stickney’s wife Carolyn spent many summers there after her husband’s death. Room 314 was her private apartment and people who stay in that room report flickering lights, a fireplace that turns itself on and off and objects that mysteriously disappear.
By far the scariest place you might go is the New Hampshire Asylum for the Insane. Built in the mid-1800’s the State Hospital, as it came to be known, was responsible for well, the insane. By 1930 this large ominous brick building housed over 2000 patients, many who were considered criminally insane. Today, it has been converted to offices for state employees, some who still refuse to go into certain sections of the building, including the basement.
There are many historical places in New Hampshire, many if not all claim to be inhabited by spirits. You can check this Union Leader article or this article by New Hampshire Magazine to find more haunted places.
Enjoy and don’t let the goblins get you!