Canaan NH in 1860: Exploring the Map

Some views from the 1860 Grafton County, NH Map

Canaan Broad Street was laid out in 1788, on a fine high broad plain, just west of Hart's Pond, or what is now Canaan Street Lake.  Canaan Street  was formerly the center of business in Canaan, and was a busy spot on the Grafton Turnpike before the days of the Railroad.

Central Canaan Township in 1860, showing three villages:  Factory Village to the  north, Canaan Village, just west of the Lake, and East Canaan.

Canaan Street, across from Hart's Pond, or what we call Canaan Street Lake.

On Canaan Street, there was plenty of activity back in 1860. We can see there was a Hotel, Saddler's Shop, Blacksmith Shop, Dr. A. Wheat, a Paint Shop, a Shoe Shop, a Carriage Shop, a Tin Shop, a Methodist Church, the Dustin and Cobb Store, and the F. Cobb P.O.  It was, and still is a beautiful location.

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Hart's Pond, or Heart Pond, had become Crystal Lake by the time of the 1927 USGS map below.  Today it is called Canaan Street Lake.

1927 Topographic map showing Hart's Lake, which became Crystal Lake, and today is known as Canaan Street Lake.  Factory Village was changed to Canaan Center, and East Canaan became Canaan.

In the topographic map above, we see Canaan Center in the northwest.  Back in 1860, that area was known as Factory Village.

Factory Vilage in Canaan, 1860.

Factory Village is seen in the 1860 detail map above, where it was settled along the Mascoma River, just above Hart's Lake.  There's a Paper Mill, Blacksmith Shop, Shoe Shop, Saw Mill, Grist Mill, Store, and a Saw and Planing Mill.  Notable names in Factory Village included:  Burnham, Colby, Currier, Davis, Day, Gilman, Kelley, Merrill, Milton, Richardson and Willis, among others.  Today Factory Village is known as Canaan Center.  I can imagine that a swim in the lake must have been nice after a hard summer day's work in Factory Village!

East Canaan, seen in the map below, was settled on the Indian River, a main tributary of the Mascoma River.  Today U.S. Route 4 passes through there.

                       East Canaan in 1860, settled along the Indian River.

Early settlements were most often situated on or near running water to be used for Saw and Grist Mills.   The railroads naturally followed the locations of industry and development.  As the railroad moved in,  places like East Canaan gained in population and importance.

West end of East Canaan

In the above map, showing the west side of East Canaan, we can see there was a Grist Mill, a Saw Mill, and a Machine Shop on the Indian River.  It looks like C. Barney had a Brickyard too.

Central area of East Canaan, 1860.

Barnard, Barney, Briggs, Clark, Davis, Cunningham, Gross, Cole, Hutchinson, Leeds, Weeks and Wilson were some of the last names of folks residing in East Canaan by 1860.

Eastern section of East Canaan, 1860

It was a busy time along the Indian River in the eastern portion of East Canaan. Businesses included:  Barnard and Co. Store, a Shoe Store, a Union Store, a Millenery Store, a Jeweler, E. Barney Store, and a Tailor Store.  In addition, we see a Tin Shop, a Wheelwright Shop, Railroad Station, Freight Station, and the Union Church.

Canaan also has other bodies of water, including Goose Pond, in the northwest.

Northern Canaan Township, showing Goose Pond and Clark's Pond.

Clark's Pond, above, lies in the northern corner, almost into Dorchester.

Southern tip of Goose Pond, West Farms and Sawyer Hill

 In the 1860 map, it looks like the southern end of Goose Pond was quite populated.  No doubt the settlers enjoyed the abundance of fish and wildlife in the area.

Canaan Township in 1860.

West Canaan, just east of Enfield.

Town Hill Area and Bear Pond. 

The Mascoma River's source is at the foot of Smart's Mountain in Dorchester, and it flows through Canaan, on its journey to the Connecticut River in West Lebanon.  These days, you can hike along the rail trail where the railroad tracks used to be, and imagine the activity and excitement of days gone by.

Whatever the era, Canaan NH is a beautiful Upper Valley location in which to settle. 

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