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  • Monadnock Center Blog

    Peterborough Inventory

    Slavery in Peterborough

    Michelle Stahl ~ April 23, 2014

    Like today, early Peterborough inventoried the assets in town for tax purposes – the dreaded tax valuation. This inventory dated from 1780 to 1793 details the town’s taxable assets including acres of orchards, arable land, pastures, horses, oxen, etc. A document like this could be just a curiosity- wow, there were 337 cows in Peterborough! But, there is more revealed in this document than just curiosities. This seemingly mundane list illuminates a part of Peterborough’s past that has been lost to later generations; the fact that some early Peterborough citizens owned slaves. The inventory begins with the number of polls (the taxable residents in town) and the number of male and female slaves. Peterborough’s slave population was relatively small; one man and two women. Slaveholders read more→

    phoenix factory

    Peterborough in the Past

    Michelle Stahl ~ April 18, 2014

    This slideshow was prepared by the Monadnock Center for the 2014 Peterborough Vision Forum. It was designed to provide an overview of population, demographic, and business trends over the course of Peterborough's history.   read more→

    James Cross Clock

    James Cross – Clock Maker

    Michelle Stahl ~ April 14, 2014

    Sometimes an antique can present a mystery.  This banjo clock is signed on the face “James Cross Peterborough.”  But when Jennie Scott gave this clock to the Peterborough Historical Society in 1952, the early collection record had a note, “no definite information about Cross as a clockmaker has been found.” Who was James Cross?  Was he the owner of the clock rather than the maker?  Is this a Peterborough, New York or Peterborough, Ontario artifact? When the object and the owner can’t tell the whole story, it is time to start digging.  Printed sources like Charles parson’s New Hampshire Clocks & Clockmakers cites examples of James Cross’ work in Rochester, New Hampshire but there is no mention of Peterborough.  A look at the Peterborough town history of 1876 read more→

    New England Telephone and Telegraph

    Phone Times

    Michelle Stahl ~ April 7, 2014

    These days when a cell phone is attached to the ear of every teenager, it is hard to believe there was a time when every phone number in New England could be listed in one directory.  This phone book, published in July 1902 covered all of New England and points east of the Mississippi! A closer look at the directory is something of a social and technology history lesson.  There were 76 telephones in Peterborough in 1902, most for businesses. One residence, the Needles estate, had four phones including one in the stable.  There were six public pay phones in the local area; one at Joslin’s store in Bennington, Moore’s Hotel in Francestown, Hopkins store in Greenfield, Fogg’s Store in Hancock, Robbins Store in West Peterborough, and two in Peterborough at the Bank Block on Grove read more→

    Phoenix Mill Lane

    Peterborough in Stereo

    Michelle Stahl ~ March 31, 2014

    The Monadnock Center for History & Culture preserves a small collection of stereo view photographs in the archives.  Stereo views were used with stereopticons, a device that produced a three-dimensional image.  Most of the images in the stereo collection are photographs by George Scripture, one of Peterborough’s early commercial photographers.  These photos record Peterborough scenes from the 1860’s to the 1880’s. This photograph shows Phoenix Mill Lane, the driveway between the Monadnock Center and 21 Grove Street, now the offices of Hedstrom & Jane Dentistry. The view of Phoenix Mill Lane dates from about 1875 and depicts a row of worker’s housing that lined the south side of the lane during the heyday of the Phoenix Mill.  These worker’s homes were read more→

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