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Wilton is a town in Hillsborough Countymarker, New Hampshiremarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 3,743 at the 2000 census. Like many small New Englandmarker towns it grew up around water-powered textile mills, but is now a rural bedroom community with some manufacturing and service employment.

The compact town center, where over 33% of the population resides, is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as the Wilton census-designated place and is located near the junction of New Hampshire Routes 31 and 101, at the confluence of Stony Brookmarker with the Souhegan Rivermarker.

History

Wilton Town Hall, which holds governmental offices and a private art-house movie theatre
The town was first part of a township chartered as "Salem-Canada" in 1735 by Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher of Massachusettsmarker, which then held authority over New Hampshiremarker. It was granted to soldiers from Salemmarker, Massachusettsmarker, who had served in 1690 under Sir William Phips in the war against Canadamarker. "Salem-Canada" was one of the towns on the state's borders intended to provide protection against Indian attack.

It would be regranted in 1749 by Governor Benning Wentworth as "Number Two", before being incorporated in 1762 as "Wilton". It was either named for Wilton, Englandmarker, or for Sir Joseph Wilton, a famous Englishmarker sculptor. Sir Wilton's coach design for King George III's coronation was later used as a model for the Concordmarker coach.

The Souhegan Rivermarker originally provided water power for mills. Today, Wilton is a rural town with orchards, farms and woodlands.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of , of which is land and (0.35%) is water. Wilton is drained by the Souhegan River, and Stony and Blood brooks. The town's highest point is above sea level, where the east slope of Fisk Hill touches the town's western border.

The town center, defined as a census-designated place, has a total area of .

Demographics

Aunt Mary Ann Cottage c.
1915
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,743 people, 1,410 households, and 1,023 families residing in the town. The population density was 145.3 people per square mile (56.1/km²). There were 1,451 housing units at an average density of 56.3/sq mi (21.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.57% White, 0.35% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 0.45% from other races, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.77% of the population.

There were 1,410 households out of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.6% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.4% were non-families. 19.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.06.

Wilton Woolen Company Mill in 1912
In the town the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $54,276, and the median income for a family was $61,311. Males had a median income of $39,830 versus $28,714 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,618. About 3.1% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.8% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over.

Town center

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,236 people, 503 households, and 320 families residing in the CDP, the main village settlement of the town. The population density was 637.4 people per square mile (246.0/km²). There were 520 housing units at an average density of 268.1/sq mi (103.5/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.82% White, 0.08% Black or African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.32% from other races, and 1.05% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.97% of the population.

There were 503 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.5% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.2% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 33.3% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.8 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $39,345, and the median income for a family was $47,330. Males had a median income of $38,661 versus $23,281 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $21,349. About 3.5% of families and 5.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including none of those under age 18 and 14.5% of those age 65 or over.

Sites of interest

  • Wilton is home to part of the Russell-Abbott State Forest.
  • Andy's Summer Playhouse is a children's theatre that attracts visitors throughout the region.
  • Frye's Measure Millmarker, a historic 150 year-old mill, is three miles west of downtown Wilton, at the junction of Davisville Road and Burton Highway, with tours available.
  • The Wilton Town Hall Theatre is a private art-house movie theater which screens films in the Town Hall's auditorium and in a former dressing room for vaudeville troupes which once played the auditorium.
  • The Souhegan Mills are an iconic part of the Wilton town center landscape, and have been used alternatively as an apple packing plant, a dressing mill, and an ammunition box factory during World War II. Souhegan Mills is currently the home of Souhegan Wood Products, a manufacturer and distributor of a variety of recycled wood products.


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