Keene, New Hampshire is a city located in the southwestern part of the state, nestled in the beautiful Monadnock Region. Known for its charming downtown, Keene has a rich history dating back hundreds of years. Here are 7 historical events that have taken place near Keene.
1. The Revolutionary War - Keene played an important role in the Revolutionary War. In the early days of the war, Keene was a center for military supplies and troops. The town supplied soldiers and equipment to many battles, including the Battle of Bunker Hill, and several Keene residents fought in the Battle of Bennington.
2. Thoreau's Hiking Expedition - In 1841, Henry David Thoreau hiked Mount Monadnock, which is located just a few miles outside Keene. Thoreau's experiences on Monadnock inspired him to write an influential essay, "A Walk to Wachusett," which helped to popularize hiking as a leisure activity.
3. The Great Flood of 1936 - In March of 1936, the Ashuelot River, which runs through Keene, experienced one of the worst floods in its history. The flood caused widespread damage, and many businesses and homes in Keene were destroyed. The floodwaters were so high that they reached the steps of the Keene Public Library.
4. The Keene Riot of 1980 - In 1980, a group of neo-Nazis attempted to hold a rally in Keene, but were met with hundreds of counter-protesters. The situation quickly turned violent, with stones and bottles thrown by both sides. Police were eventually able to restore order, but the incident brought national attention to the issue of white supremacy in the United States.
5. The Granite Railroad - In the mid-1800s, the Granite Railroad was built to transport granite from the quarries near Quincy, Massachusetts to the Bunker Hill Monument in Boston. The railroad passed through Keene, and locomotives and other equipment were manufactured there. The Granite Railroad was the first commercial railway in the United States.
6. The Keene Pumpkin Festival - For over 20 years, the Keene Pumpkin Festival was held in the city. The festival attracted thousands of visitors each year, and was the setting for the world record for the most lit jack-o'-lanterns in one place. In 2014, the festival was marred by riots, and it has not been held since.
7. The Industrial Revolution - In the 19th century, Keene was a hub for manufacturing, with factories producing everything from textiles to silverware. The city's strategic location near major waterways and transportation routes allowed it to become an industrial powerhouse, and many of the buildings and mills from that era still stand today.
Keene's rich history is a testament to its significance in shaping the Monadnock Region and the United States as a whole. From the Revolutionary War to the Industrial Revolution and beyond, the city has played an important role in many key historical events.
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