Preserve America Community:
Hooksett, New Hampshire
Hooksett (population 12,807) is located in south-central New Hampshire, just north of Manchester, the State's largest city, and 8 miles south of Concord, the State capitol. First known as Chester Woods and Rowe's Corner, this town was called Hooksett for nearly fifty years before being incorporated in 1822. There were several ferries located here for crossing the Merrimack River, as well as lumber mills and a brick-making establishment powered by the falls. In 1794, the lottery-funded Hooksett Canal became part of the transportation facilities of the Amoskeag cotton mills in Manchester.
Since 1822, a general merchandise market has operated at the site of Robie’s County Store and the present building, constructed in 1907, has remained virtually unchanged since that time. Robie’s has long been a must stop for presidential candidates every four years and the site of lively political gatherings. From 1887 until 1997 the store was operated by a member of the Robie family, and when the last family operators retired, a group of local citizens mobilized to save the store, maintain the structure, and create a living history museum. The building and its contents were purchased, then leased to a party committed to preserving the historic aspects of the property and continuing to operate it as a county store. The store has been listed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places and designated as an official Save America’s Treasures project.
The non-profit Robie’s Country Store Historic Preservation Corporation has no professional staff and is run by dedicated volunteers. Thanks to partnerships with the New Hampshire Rural Development Council, the Small Business Administration/Service Corps of Retired Executives, the local Historical Society and Heritage Commission, and New Hampshire’s Political Tradition, Inc., Robie’s Country Store continues to contribute to Hooksett’s economy and provide cultural continuity.
The Hooksett Heritage Commission has also undertaken an oral history project, as well as a program to refurbish Head Chapel, built c. 1839 as the town’s first one-room schoolhouse. Though the historic building has been open to the public since some renovations in 1965, it has been underutilized and is in need of repair and interpretation.
This past May, in recognition of National Historic Preservation Month, the Hooksett Heritage Commission, Historical Society, and Robie's Country Store Historic Preservation Corp. invited the public to celebrate Hooksett Heritage Day. Open Houses were held at three of Hooksett's most historic buildings: Arah Prescott Library, Head Chapel, and Robie's Country Store.
For more information
Town of Hooksett: www.hooksett.org
Posted April 30, 2009