19 Grove St. ~ PO Box 58 ~ Peterborough, NH 03458 ~ 603-924-3235 

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By July 29, 2014 Read More →

The Shoe Factory

Peterborough Shoe FactoryIn the 19th century Peterborough’s downtown was dominated by the various manufacturing facilities that were built to take advantage of the plentiful water power supplied by the Nubanusit and Contoocook rivers. This photograph from the Center’s archives shows the intersection of Main and Depot streets. The enormous five-story factory building behind the Baptist Church was built in 1884 as a shoe factory.

The wood-frame factory was over 200 feet long and stood on what is now the parking area next to the Community Theater.  The factory was used for shoe making in the 1880’s and then was taken over by the Hagen & Ruefer Piano Company. The site was ideal for a piano manufacturer because it was just a stone’s throw from the depot where the pianos could be shipped. The piano company occupied the building for about 10 years.

In the early 20th century, Henry Needham moved his basket shop from Elm Street to the factory on Depot Street until his retirement. The building stood idle for a time and after much debate it was demolished in 1922.