Nashua, New Hampshire

Nashua, New Hampshire

Main Street in downtown Nashua

Nickname(s): Gate City

Location in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
Coordinates: 42°45′27″N 71°27′52″W / 42.75750°N 71.46444°W / 42.75750; -71.46444Coordinates: 42°45′27″N 71°27′52″W / 42.75750°N 71.46444°W / 42.75750; -71.46444
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Hillsborough
Settled 1655
Town 1746
City 1853
  Mayor Jim Donchess
  Board of Aldermen June Caron
Benjamin Clemons
Mark Cookson
David Deane
Richard Dowd
Don LeBrun
Thomas Lopez
Brian McCarthy
Sean McGuinness
Mary Ann Melizzi-Golja
Daniel Moriarty
Michael O'Brien
David Schoneman
Ken Siegel
Lori Wilshire
  Total 31.9 sq mi (82.6 km2)
  Land 30.8 sq mi (79.9 km2)
  Water 1.0 sq mi (2.7 km2)  3.25%
Elevation 151 ft (46 m)
Population (2010)[1]
  Total 86,494
  Estimate (2015)[2] 87,970
  Density 2,824/sq mi (1,090.5/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
  Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 03060-03061-03062-03063-03064
Area code(s) 603
FIPS code 33-50260
GNIS feature ID 0868677

Nashua is a city in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. As of the 2010 census, Nashua had a total population of 86,494,[1] making it the second largest city in the state (and in the three northern New England states) after Manchester.

Built around the now-departed textile industry, in recent decades it has been swept up in southern New Hampshire's economic expansion as part of the Boston region. Nashua was twice named "Best Place to Live in America" in annual surveys by Money magazine.[3] It is the only city to get the No. 1 ranking on two occasionsin 1987 and 1998.


City Hall in 2006

The area was part of a 200-square-mile (520 km2) tract of land in Massachusetts called Dunstable, which had been awarded to Edward Tyng of Dunstable, England. Nashua lies approximately in the center of the original 1673 grant. The previously disputed boundary between Massachusetts and New Hampshire was fixed in 1741 when the governorships of the two provinces were separated. As a consequence, the township of Dunstable was divided in two. Tyngsborough and some of Dunstable remained in Massachusetts, while Dunstable, New Hampshire, was incorporated in 1746 from the northern section of the town.

Located at the confluence of the Nashua and Merrimack rivers, Dunstable was first settled about 1654 as a fur trading town. Like many 19th century riverfront New England communities, it would be developed during the Industrial Revolution with textile mills operated from water power. By 1836, the Nashua Manufacturing Company had built three cotton mills which produced 9.3 million yards of cloth annually on 710 looms. On December 31, 1836, the New Hampshire half of Dunstable was renamed Nashua, after the Nashua River, by a declaration of the New Hampshire legislature (the Dunstable name lives on across the Massachusetts border).[4] The Nashua River was named by the Nashuway Indians, and in the Penacook language it means "beautiful stream with a pebbly bottom", with an alternative meaning of "land between two rivers".[5] In 1842 the town split again in two for eleven years following a dispute between the area north of the Nashua, and the area south of the river. During that time the northern area (today "French Hill") called itself "Nashville", while the southern part kept the name Nashua.[4] They reconciled in 1853 and joined together to charter the "city of Nashua".[4] Six railroad lines crossed the mill town, namely the Boston, Lowell and Nashua; Worcester and Nashua; Nashua and Acton; Nashua and Wilton; Concord and Nashua; and Rochester railroads; with 56 trains entering and departing daily in the years before the Civil War.[4][6] These various railroads led to all sections of the country, north, east, south, and west. The Jackson Manufacturing Company employed hundreds of workers in the 1870s.[7]

Like the rival Amoskeag Manufacturing Company upriver in Manchester, the Nashua mills prospered until about World War I, after which a slow decline set in. Water power was replaced with newer forms of energy to run factories. Cotton could be manufactured into fabric where it grew, saving transportation costs. The textile business started moving to the South during the Great Depression, with the last mill closing in 1949. Many citizens were left unemployed. But then Sanders Associates, a newly created defense firm that is now part of BAE Systems, moved into one of the closed mills and launched the city's rebirth. Besides being credited with reviving the city's flagging economy, Sanders Associates also played a key role in the development of the home video game console market. Ralph H. Baer, an employee of Sanders, developed what would become the Magnavox Odyssey, the first commercial home video game system. Sam Tamposi is credited with much of the city's revival. The arrival of Digital Equipment Corp. (now part of Hewlett-Packard) in the 1970s made the city part of the Boston-area high-tech corridor.


Nashua River Dam in 2006

Nashua is located in southeastern Hillsborough County at 42°45′04″N 71°28′51″W / 42.751038°N 71.480817°W / 42.751038; -71.480817 (42.751038, -71.480817).[8] It is bordered to the south by Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.9 square miles (82.6 km2), of which 30.8 square miles (79.9 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.7 km2) is water, comprising 3.25% of the city.[9] The eastern boundary of Nashua is formed by the Merrimack River, and the city is drained by the Nashua River and Salmon Brook, tributaries of the Merrimack. The Nashua River roughly bisects the city. Pennichuck Brook forms the northern boundary of the city. The highest point in Nashua is Gilboa Hill in the southern part of the city, at 426 feet (130 m) above sea level.[10]

Neighboring cities and towns

The city is bordered on the east by the Merrimack River, across which lies the town of Hudson, New Hampshire.


Nashua has a four-season humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb), with long, cold, snowy winters, and very warm and somewhat humid summers; spring and autumn in between are relatively brief transitions. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 22.7 °F (−5.2 °C) in January to 70.9 °F (21.6 °C) in July. On average, there are 9.4 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs and 8.7 days of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows. Precipitation is well-spread throughout the year, though winter is the driest. Snowfall, the heaviest of which is typically delivered through nor'easters, averages around 55 inches (140 cm) per season, but can vary widely from year to year.

Climate data for Nashua, New Hampshire
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 33.2
Average low °F (°C) 12.3
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.42
Average snowfall inches (cm) 16.5
trace 2.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.4 8.5 9.9 11.0 12.0 11.5 10.4 9.1 8.8 9.9 10.7 9.6 120.8
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 5.7 4.2 3.5 0.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.0 3.9 18.7
Source: NOAA (normals 1981−2010)[11]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201587,970[2]1.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
Police station c. 1908

As of the census of 2010,[13] there were 86,494 people, 35,044 households, and 21,876 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,719.9 people per square mile (1,050.2/km2). There were 37,168 housing units at an average density of 1,202.8 per square mile (464.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.4% White, 2.7% African American, 0.3% Native American, 6.5% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 4.6% from some other race, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.8% of the population.

There were 35,044 households out of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.9% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.6% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.5 years. For every 100 females there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.8 males.

In 2011 the estimated median income for a household in the city was $60,923, and the median income for a family was $76,612. Male full-time workers had a median income of $60,365 versus $43,212 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,937. About 4.6% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.[14]


The city's government is headed by a mayor and fifteen aldermen: six at-large aldermen elected three at a time every four years, and nine ward aldermen, one for each ward in the city, elected every two years.

In the New Hampshire General Court, Nashua is represented in the House by Hillsborough County's 20th (Ward 1), 21st (Ward 2), 22nd (Ward 3), 23rd (Ward 4), 24th (Ward 6), 25th (Ward 7) and 26th (Wards 5, 8 and 9) districts and in the Senate by District 12 (Wards 1, 2, and 5, shared with Hollis, Mason, Brookline, Greenville, New Ipswich, and Rindge) and District 13 (Wards 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9).

At the national level, Nashua is situated in New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district, represented by Democrat Ann Kuster.

Nashua Fire Rescue

Nashua Fire has 176 full-time members and is responsible for 31.9 square miles (83 km2), protecting a population of 87,259. In the city, there are six stations. There is one fire chief, one assistant chief, and four deputy chiefs. The department has six engines, two ladder trucks, two spare engines, one spare ladder, two hazmat trucks, and two forestry trucks.[15] Nashua uses private ambulance AMR (American Regional Ambulance). The department has 5 fire commissioners. The commission has overall responsibility for the policy decisions, promotions, discipline, hiring and terminations. The fire chief reports directly to the commission. Their responsibility is to also work with Fire Administration with planning and prioritizing the department budget.[16]


Main Street c. 1905

Nashua has three main commercial districts. Centered on Main Street near the geographic center of the city, Downtown Nashua is the oldest of the commercial districts, featuring commercial, entertainment, and dining venues, near historic commercial buildings and homes as well. Recent plans have incorporated the Nashua River into the design of a pedestrian-friendly walkway. The downtown Nashua Riverwalk is a large, public/private venture funded through the use of tax increment financing (TIF). Amherst Street (Route 101A) is located in the northwestern part of the city and is a large thoroughfare with commercial centers along both sides. The South Nashua Commercial District, centered on Daniel Webster Highway near the Massachusetts border, is anchored by the Pheasant Lane Mall, attracting many people from Massachusetts taking advantage of the lack of sales tax in New Hampshire.

The city is home to a number of technical firms, including Nashua Corporation, which took its name from the city and river. Nashua Corp. was a leading producer of floppy disks through the early 1990s, making the Nashua name well known in the world of personal computers.

Defense contractor BAE Systems (formerly Sanders Associates), computer firm Hewlett-Packard, Dell,[17] and software company Oracle Corporation are the largest representatives of the high-tech industry prominent in the region. The Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center is located in Nashua.

The city recently completed building what many locals call the "Broad Street Parkway", a major highway development that connects Exit 6 of the Everett Turnpike to the city's downtown area ("Tree Streets" neighborhood), with the goal of easing traffic congestion and opening up Nashua's old mill-yard as part of the city's economic development. Work on the project started in May 2011 and was completed in 2015.[18] The new parkway provides a third crossing of the Nashua River and a way for traffic to avoid Library Hill, a busy downtown intersection. The idea of a road connecting Broad Street with Hollis Street within the city had been discussed since the 1960s.[19]

The city is currently working with Renaissance Downtowns, a Plainville, New York development company, to develop a mixed commercial and residential development on 26 acres (11 ha) of city- and privately owned land off Bridge Street. A riverfront location and proximity to downtown have made the site attractive to developers. The property is 12 mile (800 m) from Main Street and lies along the Nashua and Merrimack rivers near Veterans Memorial Bridge, the eastern gateway to the city.[20]

There are two hospitals in Nashua, St. Joseph Hospital and Southern New Hampshire Health System.


Entrance of Boire Field, Nashua's airport

Road transport

The Everett Turnpike is the major highway running through the city. U.S. Route 3 follows the turnpike from the Massachusetts border north to Exit 7E, where it branches to the northeast along the two-lane Henri A. Burque Highway to Concord Street and then heads north into the town of Merrimack. Other New Hampshire state highways in the city include:

Maps of the Nashua area often show a stretch of freeway forming a circumferential highway through Nashua and the neighboring town of Hudson. Only a small section of the south end of this highway (Exit 2 off U.S. Route 3) has been built, and it is unclear whether the highway will ever be completed. If finished, the Nashua-Hudson Circumferential Highway would be part of the Everett Turnpike, and would rejoin the mainline highway at a hypothetical Exit 9 in northern Nashua.

Public transportation is provided by the Nashua Transit System, which has nine scheduled bus routes in the city. Boston Express, a subsidiary of Concord Trailways, operates a Nashua-Boston bus line that runs out of the Nashua Transit Center off Exit 8 on the Everett Turnpike. This line transports passengers to South Station and Logan International Airport in Boston.[21]


Nashua Airport (Boire Field), a general aviation facility, is in the city's northwest corner. The nearest airports with scheduled airline service are Manchester–Boston Regional Airport in Manchester and Logan International Airport in Boston.


Historically, Nashua was a hub for the trolley system in New Hampshire. Trolleys could be taken south to Boston, as well as north into Manchester and to locations as far east as Hampton, New Hampshire. The trolley also connected different areas of the city, with the Nashua line ending at the city dance hall. The trolley system decreased in popularity in the 20th century, finally closing in 1932.[22]

Future development

Efforts are being made to extend the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's commuter rail Lowell Line from Lowell to Nashua. The state legislature created the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority (NHRTA) in 2007 with the goal of overseeing the development of commuter rail in the state. Currently, proposed commuter rail stops include Nashua, Manchester, and Concord.[23]


The city has a daily newspaper, the Nashua Telegraph, which is printed in neighboring Hudson, New Hampshire. Nashua also has two weekly newspapers, The Broadcaster and The Hippo.

Hale Global's Patch Media has a local-news site in the city, Nashua Patch.[24]

Nashua radio stations include WGHM 900 AM (ESPN affiliate), talk WSMN 1590 AM, back on the air after going dark in January 2005, and 106.3 WFNQ, a classic hits station owned by Nassau Broadcasting Partners. WEVS 88.3 and 90.3 serve as the stations for New Hampshire Public Radio.

One television station is licensed to Nashua. WYCN-CD, an ATSC television station branded as WYCN tv13, is owned and operated as an independent channel by OTA Broadcasting (BOS)LLC of Fairfax, VA. The programming on WYCN-CD is free over-the-air virtual channels 13.1 and 13.2 of entertainment with a mix of regional information. The City of Nashua also provides three channels of PEG Access television. Nashua Government TV can be found on Comcast cable channel 16, and Nashua ETV (Educational Television) can be found on Channel 99. The City of Nashua also contracts out the operation of its Public Access Channel (Access Nashua) to Community Media Services group. Access Nashua can be found on Comcast cable channel 96. All three Nashua PEG Access channels also stream their content and offer video-on-demand through the City of Nashua website.


In the 2000 U.S Census, 22,700 residents over age three were enrolled in a Nashua educational institution, approximately a fourth of the city.[25]

Secondary schools


In 2004, Nashua's public high school was split into Nashua High School South (home of the Purple Panthers, opened in 1976 and rebuilt/reopened in 2004) and the new Nashua High School North (home of the Titans, opened in 2002) off Broad Street.

Before Nashua High School (now Nashua High School South) opened in 1976, what is now Elm Street Middle School was the city's high school. With the new high school opening in 1976, the old high school became Elm Street Junior High School. In 2004, the school became Elm Street Middle School, after a city-wide reorganization of grades: Nashua's elementary schools went from [K]-1-6 to [K]-1-5, and junior high schools serving grades 7-9 were replaced by middle schools serving grades 6-8. Elm Street is still commonly referred to as Elm St. Junior High by many city residents and officials.


Bishop Guertin High School, a coeducational Catholic high school,

Public Charter School: Academy for Science and Design

Middle schools

Pennichuck Middle School
Bicentennial Elementary School


Daniel Webster College entrance

Nashua is not considered a college town compared to locales such as Durham or Keene, New Hampshire, but as of 2006 the city has 5,000 students enrolled at six colleges: Daniel Webster College, Nashua Community College, Rivier University, Southern New Hampshire University Nashua campus, Franklin Pierce University Nashua campus, and Granite State College, which in 2012 opened a co-location on the campus of Nashua Community College, expanding public higher education opportunities for the region.[26]


Nashua has had a series of amateur, semi-professional, and professional baseball teams. The Nashua Silver Knights, part of a summer collegiate league, is the city's current team. The Nashua Pride, a Can-Am minor league baseball team, played at Holman Stadium from 1998 through 2008, then changed to the American Defenders of New Hampshire in the 2009 season. The Defenders were evicted from the venue in August 2009, however, because of non-payment of rent, and moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts to become the Pittsfield Colonials. Before the Pride, Holman was the home stadium for the independent Nashua Hawks; the AA Nashua Pirates; the AA Nashua Angels; and the A Nashua Dodgers, the first racially integrated professional baseball team in the 20th century.[27]

In collegiate sports, Nashua is home to the Daniel Webster College Eagles, who compete in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) and the Rivier University Raiders, who compete in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC).

The Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps (1997, 1998, 2004, and 2007 Drum Corps International Division II World Champions) is based in Nashua.

Notable people

A few episodes of TV show The Office were set in a fictional Nashua branch of Dunder Mifflin. An episode of MTV's MADE was filmed in 2004 at Nashua High School North.[28]

In an episode of the second season of The West Wing, "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part II", during a flashback Josh Lyman visits a town hall meeting in Nashua to see a candidate he could support. The candidate turns out to be Josiah Bartlet, the next President of the United States.

In Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon's character Will Hunting says, "I wanna move up to Nashua, get a nice little spread, get some sheep and tend to them," to Robin Williams' character Sean.[29]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Nashua city, New Hampshire". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  2. 1 2 "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  3. "Nashua cracks Money’s top 100", Nashua Telegraph, July 13, 2010.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Nashua History on city website
  5. "A Short History of Nashua" on the city website
  6. [Statistics and Gazetteer of New Hampshire, 1875]
  7. [Statistics and Gazetteer of New Hampshire, 1875.]
  8. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  9. "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Nashua city, New Hampshire". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  10. "City of Nashua Conservation and Preservation, Section B ("Natural Nashua"), Section 1 ("Topography")". Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  11. "Station Name: NH NASHUA 2 NNW". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  12. "U.S. Decennial Census". Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  13. "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data, Nashua city, New Hampshire". U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  14. "Selected Economic Characteristics: 2011 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates (DP03), Nashua city, New Hampshire". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  16. Rich-Kern, Sheryl (December 19, 2015). "Long-awaited Broad Street Parkway Opens in Nashua". New Hampshire Public Radio. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  20. Chasse, Amelia. (2011-03-15) Business groups unite to support NH Rail Transit Authority « New Hampshire Journal Archived August 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 2013-08-02.
  21. Nashua Patch
  22. "Profile of Selected Social Characteristics. 2000", U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Summary File 3 (SF 3) - Sample Data.
  23. CURTIS, DANIELLE (27 July 2012). "Nashua Community College, Granite State College partner on bachelor's degree program". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  24. Gray, Kevin (2005-10-06). "Don Newcombe diversity dinner speaker Jan. 16". New Hampshire Cultural Diversity Awareness Council. Retrieved 2007-10-20. As members of the Nashua Dodgers, Campanella and Newcombe were the first professional, African-American baseball players to compete on a racially integrated U.S. team in the 20th century.
  25. Hippo Press: "MTV: Back in Nashua?"
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