As a longtime Concord resident, Joan Woodhead knows firsthand the benefits of living in the Capital Region. In 1966, her family, then with four young children, bought a farm just outside the center of the city. They became self-sufficient — raising their own food and cutting wood for fuel, among other things. What she loved about Concord was its duality, that you could easily enjoy performances by The Community Players of Concord, the Walker Lecture Series and Gile Concerts all while living in a rural atmosphere with access to farms, orchards and dairies. And as president of the Pierce Brigade, Woodhead knows quite a bit about the Granite State and how to appreciate the history to be found in your own backyard. She shared some of her favorite spots to explore.
My favorite place would be the Franklin Pierce Manse owned by the all-volunteer Pierce Brigade, where I have had the pleasure of volunteering for 20 years. This dedicated group of volunteers saved the house from demolition in 1966, moved it to 14 Horseshoe Pond Lane, restored it, and has kept it open to the public for almost 50 years. Students on field trips and visitors from all over the country and beyond come for tours of this historic home to learn of life in the 1840s and some presidential history. Pierce spent a lot of time at the NH State House, serving in the same chambers used to this day. His 1847 defense of the Shakers in a case before the General Court reminds us of Canterbury Shaker Village. The NH History Museum collection contains Pierce artifacts and correspondence. All interesting places to visit as is the Pierce Homestead in Hillsborough.
Concord has an interesting and rich history. The house where New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution is located two doors away from the Manse on Concord’s historic North Main Street. Across the street is the home of the Reverend Timothy Walker, long-time pastor to the Concord community and influential in setting boundaries between New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Abbot Downing made the Concord Coach here.
We are still making history here as evidenced by the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. Our first-in-the-nation primary presents opportunities to meet presidential candidates and future presidents. It is not unusual to bump into them on the street or at fairgrounds in season. There is no lack of things to do in the capital city of Concord!