Hampshire Friends of the
Historic Events Page
Left - the dam in Pittsfield, NH 1911
Right - Whites Dam in Pittsfield, NH damaged 1930's - washed away 1953
The history of the Suncook River over the last 200 years as been based upon its dams. The river (dams) has been a local source of power to the early settlers and later to the manufacturing facilities along its banks (primarily in Pittsfield). This probably peaked around 1890-1915, corresponding to the years when Pittsfield peaked. A few (?) dams still generate a small amount of electrical power today.
Over the years the dams have come and gone, removed when their need was over, or more commonly, destroyed by floods or ice. Several of these more recent floods are documented on this web site. One recent flood literally changed the course of the river in one location. That shift has affected the river flow above and beyond where it happened.
During 2011 and 2012 The Friends of the Suncook River stepped aside as advocates of the Suncook River when the state of NH proposed to begin the process of including the Suncook River in its River Management and Protection Program (RMPP). The RMPP provides a two-tiered approach to river management and protection: State designation of significant rivers and protection of in-stream characteristics, and local development and adoption of river corridor management plans to protect shorelines and adjacent lands.
The primary use of the river today is recreation. Sections of the river are still water, while other sections offer 'white water' challenges. Fishing and boating (in small motor boats, canoes and kayaks) are the most common uses of today, but there are also a few good 'swimming holes' to be found along the Suncook River too. Photography is also a popular activity while paddling along the river. As with most small NH rivers, the river shoreline is mostly 'natural and undeveloped'.
Recent concerns include the introduction and spread of the invasive weed, milfoil in the upper reaches of river (primarily Barnstead and north). Attempts to control this weed have not be very successful.
Robert Frost Visit and Poem
Early in the 1900's, America's famous poet, Robert Frost visited the very active Suncook River mills in Allenstown. He wrote a poem about an injured mill worker called "The Self Seeker", which was published in 1915 in his book, NORTH OF BOSTON. Click here to read that poem.