HOPKINTON, NEW HAMPSHIRE
May 24, 2017
A Prayer in Spring
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.
I curiously drove past the rode I usually turn onto to get home to see what was beyond and happily stumbled into Hopkinton. Since 1915, Hopkinton has been home to the Hopkinton State Fair, which attracts thousands of visitors each year during the Labor Day weekend.
The town was granted by Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher in 1735 as “Number 5” to settlers from Hopkinton, Massachusetts, who renamed it “New Hopkinton.” First settled in 1736, colonists were required to build homes, fence in their land, plant it with English grass, and provide a home for a minister, all within seven years.
I took a stroll through Old Hopkinton Cemetery.
The Stanley Tavern is a historic tavern building standing at 371 Main Street. The oldest portion of this Georgian wood frame structure was built c. 1791 by Theophilus Stanley, to serve as a tavern in the town, which was at the time was competing with Concord to be the state capital.
It is the only surviving tavern of three that were known to be present in the town in the late 18th and early 19th century. The building originally consisted of a typical five bay wide, two bay deep, Georgian house with a central chimney, to which a single story kitchen wing with rear chimney was built on. Around 1800 the roof of the kitchen wing was raised to a full two stories. A two story wing added in 1875 was demolished during restoration of the property in the early 2000s. The building served as a tavern until 1864, and has since gone through a variety of commercial and residential uses. The property distinctively includes a shed that is as old as the main house. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
A substantial portion of the town in the north was named “Contoocook Village” for a tribe of the Pennacook Indians who once lived there. It became a center for water-powered industry, particularly lumber and textiles, due to its position along the Contoocook Rivier. The Contoocook covered railroad bridge in the village is a remnant of the Boston & Maine Railroad and is the oldest covered bridge of its kind still standing in the United States. Next to the bridge is the Contoocook Railroad Depot, one of the original railroad depots for the Concord and Claremont Railroad.