The 1768 Cogswell House, ancestral home of a prominent Haverhill family, in Atkinson, N.H., side of the border when boundaries were redrawn. (Photograph courtesy of Steven Lewis.)
Atkinson, N.H., is celebrating its 250th anniversary with a variety of events between Thursday, Aug. 31 and Monday, Sept. 4. To help give meaning to the festivities, WHAV presents a special series of little known facts about the town, heard on-air at 97.9 WHAV FM, Monday through Thursday, at 7:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.
Atkinson’s upcoming celebration observes the town’s 1767 separation from Plaistow, but the town actually traces its roots to the founding of Haverhill.
What is now Atkinson was part of Haverhill’s northern neighborhood and is still home to some of the city’s early history, as lifelong town resident and historian Steven Lewis explains.
“Atkinson was really always considered the North Parish of Haverhill—Plaistow and Atkinson. There are still landmarks that people may not realize that delineated this North Parish: the shopping center that’s the State Line Plaza and the building which is now the mortgage company—that was the North Parish Congregational Church. That was the church for this part of Haverhill,” he told WHAV.
Before the American Revolution, churches doubled as government buildings and may have been shared by more than one denomination, Lewis added.
Lewis, owner of SLI Consulting, lives in Haverhill merchant Nathaniel Cogswell’s house, now on the New Hampshire side of the border. Before 1904, generations of the prominent Cogswell family lived in the home. Cogswell’s wife was pen pals with Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams
At least one vestige of its Haverhill history remains.
“Haverhill used to mark main roads with mile markers from the bridge. We have one right here that says HB 3—three miles from the Haverhill bridge.”
A full calendar of activities appears at atkinsonnh250th.com.
Tomorrow: Atkinson Celebrates 250: Border Dispute Helps Define Town Today