"In the 1980s, people in the Connecticut River Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire began to call upon their public officials for more attention to the great River that is their common border. Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains, the White Mountains, Lake Winnipesaukee, and even New Hampshire's sliver of seacoast were being extolled as great assets, while the Connecticut River was the place where the western edge of the New Hampshire map and the eastern edge of the Vermont map went blank.

"No longer. In 1987, the NH legislature created the Connecticut River Valley Resource Commission, and in 1988, the VT legislature followed suit with the Connecticut River Watershed Advisory Commission. They directed each to preserve and protect the resources of the Connecticut River Valley, guide growth and development, and work with the other in doing so. The two Commissions soon banded together and established the non-profit Connecticut River Joint Commissions, Inc. to help raise funds and implement the Commissions' shared objectives.

"Both Commissions are advisory and have no regulatory powers, preferring instead to advocate and ensure public involvement in decisions that affect their river and their valley. The thirty volunteer River Commissioners, fifteen appointed from each state, are business people, landowners, farmers, conservationists, and citizens who live and work in the Valley and are committed to its future. They are assisted by two staff, the executive director and the communications coordinator."


The Connecticut River Joint Commissions is the major supporter of the Connecticut River Historic Sites Database and Connecticut River Heritage Itineraries project through its Partnership Grant Program.

"A key part of the Commissions' role is focusing outside resources on Valley needs. The Joint Commissions initiated an annual Partnership Program of awards to support the imagination and energy of Valley people in carrying out projects that promote conservation, and economic development, through our association with the National Park Service and support by the VT and NH Congressional delegations. The program has successfully stimulated local leadership and accomplishments with relatively small amounts of federal funding. In its first three years, Partnership awards of $256,600 fostered other commitments of $3.6 million, which remained in or were attracted to the Valley's economy.

"Winning projects have included importation of European dairy sheep genetics, studies for meat processing improvements and a cut flower cooperative, construction of canoe camp sites and trails, restoration of historic structures, river-related school studies, citizen monitoring of water quality, and vegetative riverbank stabilization."

Partnership Program grant support for the Connecticut River Historic Sites Database and Connecticut River Heritage Itineraries project has amounted to a total of $23,500 (1994: $4500; 1995: $14,000; 1996: $5000). Additional support of $4050 has come from the A. D. Henderson Foundation through the efforts of Historic Windsor, Inc.

The Connecticut River Joint Commissions maintain an office in Charlestown, NH (P. O. Box 1182, Charlestown, NH 03603. Tel: 603-826-4800). It maintains a website at:



NEW HAMPSHIRE PRESERVATION ALLIANCE (formerly Inherit New Hampshire, Inc.)

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance (formerly Inherit New Hampshire, Inc.), is New Hampshire's statewide non-profit preservation organization. It's offices are in Concord (P. O. Box 268, Concord, NH 03302-0268. Tel: 224-2281). Its "...primary goal is to galvanize public action to protect and steward the built environment, in recognition of the fact that our historic structures and surrounding landscapes represent the unique character and cultural heritage of each community and play an integral role in the economic well being of the state."

NHPA was the sponsoring non-profit organization during the first two years of the Connecticut River Historic Sites Database and Connecticut River Heritage Itineraries project.




Terra Nova Trust is a private operating foundation with offices in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. It is the sponsoring non-profit organization during the third and later years of the Connecticut River Historic Sites Database and Connecticut River Heritage Trails project.

The Trust was established to encourage, among other things, wise land use planning in New Hampshire and to advance the cause of historic preservation.




Introduction and Description

The Connecticut River Historic Sites Database (CRHSD) is an ongoing project of the Connecticut River Joint Commissions. It was created by Inherit New Hampshire, Inc. (now the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance), and is now being developed by Terra Nova Trust, both recipients of grant support from the Joint Commissions and from the Henderson Foundation. The project is being carried out under the direction of Robert B. Stephenson.

The intention is that the database will be refined and expanded in the future through the efforts of interested people and organizations mainly in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Present Status

The CRHSD has been created in FileMaker Pro v3.0 and now v4.0 on a G3 Macintosh computer. FileMaker Pro is a cross platform database program meaning that the database is compatible for use by either IBM or Mac computers although the user will need to have the appropriate FileMaker Pro application.

Presently the database exceeds 26 megabytes in size and includes about 4898 separate sites. Some sites have only a line or two of descriptive information; others are 100 pages or more of full text.

The CRHSD is not generally accessible by the public at the moment, although it will be, at least in abbreviated form, in the future.

Assistance in reviewing the database, refining and expanding it, will be very much appreciated. Contact Robert Stephenson if you or your organization are interested in helping out.

Study Area

The CRHSD includes sites in the riverside communities from the Massachusetts border to Orford, New Hampshire and in Vermont to the Canadian border.

These 40 communities are: In NH (south-north): Hinsdale, Chesterfield, Westmoreland, Walpole, Langdon, Charlestown, Claremont, Cornish, Plainfield, Lebanon, Hanover, Lyme and Orford. In VT (south-north): Vernon, Brattleboro, Dummerston, Putney, Westminster, Rockingham, Springfield, Weathersfield, Windsor, Hartland, Hartford, Norwich, Thetford, Fairlee, Bradford, Newbury, Ryegate, Barnet, Waterford, Concord, Lunenburg, Guildhall, Maidstone, Brunswick, Bloomfield, Lemington and Canaan. National Register properties in New Hampshire north of Orford to the Canadian border are also included as are some sites in adjacent towns (Acworth, NH, Northfield, MA and Guilford, Newfane, Townshend, Grafton, Woodstock, Strafford, Vershire and West Fairlee, VT).

Organization of the CRHSD

The full CRHSD has a large number of fields some of which include information about a specific site (i.e. record) and some of which are used for sorting or other manipulation or identification purposes. The full and complete CRHSD may be viewed in the "browse" mode as the "DataSheet." Information in the DataSheet is displayed in rows and columns. A full screen (15 inch) displays 24 separate records. One can scroll down through all 4898 records or across the 50 or so columns or fields.

The chief summary version of the CRHSD is the "PrintForm," which includes those fields that are likely to be of greatest interest to the average user. The PrintForm shows only one record at a time (although that record may be many pages in length). Click here to see a sample Printform.

Other forms or layouts have been created (and more can easily be added) for specific purposes. Among them is an "Index" form (a basic listing of all sites by town, site number site type and site name) and a "Cemetery" form which displays information in the database that pertains specifically to cemeteries.

Selected Listing of Fields (PrintForm only; some sorting fields not described) (Numbered here only for clarity)

1. Place. Name of municipality. The first record appearing for each municipality has no site number. This first record includes historical information about the municipality as a whole and is not generally site specific.

2. Village. The village, settlement, district or community within the larger municipality in which the site is located. In some instances this field is left blank either because the sites location is not as yet specifically known or its located in an area of the municipality that has no clear district designation.

3. County. NH: Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, Sullivan. VT: Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Windham, Windsor.

4. State. NH or VT.

5. Site Number. A numerical field. Each site within a municipality has a unique numerical identification. These are in order of creation, except in instances where a "vacant" record (one earlier deleted) has been replaced by a new site.

6. Site Name. The name, common or otherwise, of the site.

7. Address. Street address of site. (Not known in all cases.)

8. Contact. Where appropriate, a person, address, phone number, FAX, etc.

9. Site Type. Those currently included as pull-down menu items: Archaeological, Barn, Bridge, Canal, Cemetery, Church, Commercial, Common, Covered Bridge, Dam, Education, Farm, Ferry Landing, Grange/Masonic, Historic District, Historical Society, House, Institution, Island, Library, Marker, Mill/Industry, Miscellaneous, Mountain, Muncipality, Museum, National Register District, Park, Police/Fire, Post Office, Public Art, Railroad, River/lake, Road, Store, Sugarhouse, Tavern (includes restaurants, inns, hotels, B&Bs, etc.), Theatre, Town Hall, View, Village, Walking Tour. New types can easily be created and types can be combined.

10. Sources. Identification of sources of information on the site whether or not any text from the source is included in the database. The first number is the source; the second number (not always present) is the page number and is separated from the first by a colon, i.e. 10:45 is page 45 of Source 10. Source numbers (with or without page numbers) are separated from one another by semi-colons. Source numbers appear after each text entry in the database, most commonly in the field entitled "Site Description." The listing of all sources may be found in the "Sources Database," presently a separate database (see description below)..

11. National Register. If a site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places or is a National Historic Landmark, the date of listing is included in this field. Also, if a site is within a National Register Historic District it is so indicated.

12. Vermont Site No. Vermont has an extensive state survey of historic sites and districts. All have been included in the CRHSD.

13. GRANIT Type & No. GRANIT is the New Hampshire Geographic Information System (GIS). Many sites along the Connecticut River have been entered in the system and these types and numbers have been included in the CRHSD. The number locates the site geographically; the types (Inventories Features) include: Agricultural, Agricultural & Cultural, Agricultural & Historical, Historical & Recreational, Historical & Cultural, and Recreational. Also indicated are National Register properties and districts.

14. USGS Map(s). The name(s) of the USGS map(s) on which the site is located is known.

15. UTM/Latitude-Longitude. UTM or Lat-Long of the site, if known or determined.

16. URL. The URL for those sites having webpages.

17. Negative Number and Date. Negative number and date of photograph for those sites that have been photographed.

18. Site Description. This is the major field within the CRHSD, the field containing by far the most information. In some cases this field may be greater than 100 pages. Entries are in order of the Source number.

Sources Database

The Sources Database is a simple listing of all the printed sources that have been consulted during the development of the CRHSD. For each site in the CRHSD there are sources listed (see item 10 above). While not all sources listed have necessarily yielded text that appears in the CRHSD, all text that does appear is certainly cited by number, and where appropriate page, in the Sources Database.

The material listed in the Sources Database is varied and ranges from handouts, brochures, newspaper articles and similar ephemeral material to periodicals and books.

At the moment there are four fields in the Sources Database:




The Connecticut River Heritage Trails are self-guided motoring tours designed to link together some of the historic sites included in the Connecticut River Historic Sites Database. Eight of these have been devised to cover the area from the Massachusetts border to Orford-Fairlee. Wherever possible scenic roads have been chosen for the links.

All eight trails are in draft form as far as the proposed routes are concerned. Only one Trail--6--has been described and appears in draft form elsewhere on this site (also in draft form are maps depicting all 8 trails and table giving trail sections, their starting and ending points and their mileages). Click here to go directly to Trail 6. It is hoped that once this trail is further refined that it will be published as a brochure and act as a prototype for production of the remaining seven trails.

In delineating these trails virtually every road in each of the NH-VT riverfront communities from the Massachusetts border to Orford-Fairlee was driven. Information on sites and on road character were tape recorded and transcribed. Photographs were taken of all sites included in the draft Trail 6 (and are included in the linked pages) and many that were not included.




Many people and organizations have and continue to assist this project. Among them are:

Carol Barleon, NH Office of State Planning
Charlotte K. Barrett (who has done much of the source collection, particularly in Vermont)
Judy Berry, NH Office of State Planning
Joan Bishop, Kimball Union Academy, Meriden, NH
Ron Boehm, ValleyNet, Norwich, VT
Robert Chamberlain, Resource Systems Group, Inc., White River Junction, VT
John Dryfhout, Superintendent, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, NH
Richard Ewald, Weathersfield, VT
Christine Fonda, NH Division of Historical Resources.
Sharon Francis, Executive Director, Connecticut River Joint Commissions
Kevin Geiger, Northeastern Vermont Development Association
Elsa Gilbertson, VT Division of Historic Preservation
Peter Gregory, Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Planning Commission
Michael Havey, Yasvin Design, Hancock, NH
Judy Hayward, Excutive Director, Historic Windsor, Inc.
Elizabeth D. Hengen, Preservation Consultant, Concord, NH.
Heritage Tourism Committee of the Connecticut River Joint Commissions (Nat Tripp, Chair)
Judith D. LaFavor, Resource Systems Group, Inc., White River Junction, VT
Nancy C. Muller, NH Division of Historical Resources
Adair D. Mulligan, Connecticut River Joint Commissions
Roberto M. Rodriguez, Executive Director, American Precision Museum, Windsor, VT
The Rev R. Cassius L. Webb, Charlestown, NH
Westmoreland Historical Society
Linda R. Wilson, NH Division of Historical Resources