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311 Pembroke Street
Pembroke, NH 03275
603-485-4747 (Town Hall)
603-485-3967 (Fax)
TownHall@Pembroke-NH.com

History of Industry

The first mills built in Suncook were those of John Coffrin/Cochran (spelling) erected in approximately 1738, just east of the present Main Street Bridge where it crosses the Suncook River. They were understandably a saw mill and a grist mill, both a prerequisite for the Suncook Grant to become effective.

The early fulling mill (processing of woolen cloth), was constructed in 1773 close to the saw and grist mill, owned by Samuel Daniell. After having passed through several hands, the fulling mill was sold to the Pembroke Cotton Factory Company.

There were also paper mills, (one of which was suspected of producing paper for making counterfeit money) operated along the Suncook River from the late 1700's to the early 1800's. Many of these old buildings have been razed or destroyed by fire. With the burning of Webster Manufacturing mill in 1982, only the Emerson mill is still standing.

In Suncook, the Chelmsford Glass Company established the Pembroke Glass Works in 1839 on the west end of Buck Street (later known as Glass Street) to produce crown window glass. Crown glass resulted in the outer edges being used as window glass and the center being called "bulls-eye" glass. The Chelmsford Glass Company ceased operations in Pembroke in 1850, due in part to the high cost of transporting quality sand from long distances, the discovery and use of natural gas as a fuel in the production of glass, and the lowering of the foreign glass import tariff.

The textile industry as a major employer in the local area lasted until the early 20th century, when much of New England textile manufacturing went to the southern part of the United States. The three better known mills in town were the Pembroke Mills, Webster Manufacturing, and China Manufacturing, all manufacturing print cloth.

The second most profitable industry in Pembroke was that of producing bricks, with the primary employers and greater profits coming from the textile industry. The clay extracted along the Merrimack River provided bricks for home and commercial construction in the local area. Brick making existed primarily during the late 19th and mid 20th centuries. Other sites were located on the Soucook River, the northwest side of Suncook River at Buck Street, and Buck Street on the southeast side of the river, to mention a few.

Railroads and light rail lines played an important part in the history of Pembroke. In 1852, the Portsmouth to Concord Railroad started with a station in Pembroke. The Suncook Valley Railroad was completed in 1869. Later, in the 20th century, the junction of Pembroke St. and Whittemore Rd. was known as Hobbs Corner. Hobbs Corner was the turn-off for the trolley running from Pembroke Street onto Whittemore Road, across the Merrimack River and on to Concord, NH. The trolley serviced Concord and towns south to Manchester, NH from about 1902 until 1927 at which time buses took over.

Historical summary courtesy of the Pembroke Historical Society