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Swiftwater Bridge Bath, New Hampshire

October 25, 2013 by  

Swiftwater Bridge Bath, New Hampshire, Bath is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,077 at the 2010 census. Now a tourist destination and bedroom community for Littleton, the town is noted for its historic architecture, including the Brick Store and three covered bridges. Bath includes the village of Swiftwater and part of the district known as Mountain Lakes.

Bird’s-eye view of Bath c. 1905
The town was granted to the Rev. Andrew Gardner and 61 others on September 10, 1761 by Governor Benning Wentworth, who named it for William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath. It was first settled in 1765 by John Herriman from Haverhill, Massachusetts. But the terms of the original grant were unfulfilled, so Bath was regranted on March 29, 1769 by Governor John Wentworth. The first census, taken in 1790, recorded 493 residents.

Situated at the head of navigation on the Connecticut River, and shielded from strong winds by the Green Mountains to the west and White Mountains to the east, Bath soon developed into “…one of the busiest and most prosperous villages in northern New Hampshire.” Intervales provided excellent alluvial soil for agriculture, and the Ammonoosuc and Wild Ammonoosuc rivers supplied water power for mills. The population reached 1,627 in 1830, when 550 sheep grazed the hillsides. A vein of copper was mined. The White Mountains Railroad up the Ammonoosuc River Valley opened August 1, 1853, shipping Bath’s lumber, potatoes, livestock and wood pulp. By 1859, the town had two gristmills and two sawmills. Other industries would include a woolen mill, creamery, distillery and two starch factories.

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