The Contoocook Railroad Station
by Mrs. Francis Blanchard
In 1844 the town of Hopkinton was having
great controversy over the construction of a railroad. There was a deep
social agitation throughout the town. This was partly due to the "right of
eminent domain." There were many arguments about "What is eminent domain?",
and whether or not railroads were legally such that the government could
take over private property for public use.
This was not a local controversy. Many town in New
Hampshire felt the same way. At this time it was not conceivable that within
a period of five years options would change.
In 1848, the large group of people in the town of
Hopkinton who were so strongly opposed to the railroad, were equally earnest
in promoting the advancement of the railroad. In 1848 the Concord to
Claremont Railroad was chartered and the first train went through Contoocook
early in 1849. For about three years the train went only as far as Bradford,
due to the hardships of laying the rails through Newbury Cut.
Contoocook Railroad Station was constructed at this time
as was Tyler and West Hopkinton, making three stations in the town of
Hopkinton. It is interesting to note that at this time Contoocook was still
known as Contoocookville, and this is the name which was put on the station
when first built.
In the fall of 1850, when trains were running regularly
through Contoocookville, a day of great festivity was held. Railroad
officials extended the favor of free rides to and from Concord. Needless to
say trains were filled to capacity.
Contoocook decided to show its appreciation. Money was
raised by public subscription. A public dinner was provided. A bad was
hired, the artillery called out, and speeches were made by celebrities.
About one thousand people were fed on the station platform, the food costing
For many years four or five trains and two freights ran
daily until the early 1900's. As cars and trucks became more popular the
trains became less popular. By 1950 only one train and one freight were
Contoocook Railroad Station was finally closed in the
spring of 1954. The building was purchased by Dodd Insurance Agency. This
company occupied one side of the station and the Contoocook Library was housed in the other side until 1959.
Dodd Insurance Agency renovated the interior of the
station, painted the outside red with white trim, and it still occupying
this old building.
Mrs. Francis Blanchard