Granite State Stories
A partnership between New Hampshire Humanities and The New Hampshire Historical Society
Oh, the stories we can tell! While a small state, New Hampshire has a remarkable history, full of interesting people, new inventions, daring adventures, and astounding beauty.
Learn more about the place we all love from New Hampshire Historical Society staffers who, in honor of the Society’s 200th anniversary, will be touring the state to share and explore some of our iconic NH stories. At each program, a staffer will share three stories, selected from the list below, about our rich history.
This 19th-century artist was in the vanguard of the movement to develop a uniquely American style of art. While working in his studio in North Conway, he created stunning landscape paintings and mentored a generation of artists who helped make the White Mountains famous the world over.
Revolutionary War Flags
The New Hampshire Historical Society owns two Revolutionary War flags, both from the Second NH Regiment. Less than three dozen flags dating from the American Revolution survive in the world today, and the Society’s set is the only known pair originating from a single regiment. Hear the story behind these flags—the tale of how they were made, the story of how they were captured by the British, and the twisting adventure of how they eventually made their way back to New Hampshire
Manufactured with an innovative design to improve the comfort of the ride, the Concord coach is one of the state’s most iconic images. Close to 1,500 of these stagecoaches were built in the mid-19th century by the Abbot-Downing Company, which sold them all over the world, even to places as far away as Australia. Concord coaches were used everywhere, but are most closely associated with the settlement of the American West. Beautifully constructed, they were also decorated with original works of art, many of which celebrate New Hampshire. Only a few hundred of these vehicles survive today, with the largest concentration of them located right here in the Granite State.
“Battle of Gettysburg” Painting
New Hampshire soldiers played a critical role in the Civil War and perhaps nowhere more so than the Battle of Gettysburg. In the days immediately after the fighting ended, Granite Stater James Bachelder traveled to Pennsylvania and created a detailed sketch of a particular moment of the battle: Pickett’s Charge. The painting that was eventually made based on Bachelder’s battlefield map is now considered the most accurate depiction of Gettysburg, and in the late 19th century, it toured the country as a public attraction, with Bachelder often delivering an accompanying lecture. He was later named the official historian of Gettysburg by the U.S. Congress.
Everyone in New Hampshire is familiar with Mount Washington, but few know the sacrifices and travails of those who “conquered” the mountain to reach its summit. From the first known ascent of Washington in 1642 to the auto road of the 20th century, the challenge of getting to the top of Mount Washington has involved danger, courage, inventiveness, and sometimes just plain old good luck.
She was a gifted artist who worked for the state. He was a product of her imagination, an All-American boy with a button nose and a cheerful grin. Together, the artist Alice Cosgrove and her creation, Chippa Granite, were at the center of a nationwide marketing campaign to promote New Hampshire and its products in the 1950s. Cosgrove won a statewide competition with her depiction of the freckle-faced little boy. The state then ran a second competition for school kids to give the little boy a name—Chippa Granite. His image advertised everything from vacations to vegetables for New Hampshire and helped define how the rest of the world viewed the state in the mid-20th century.
To bring Granite State Stories to your organization:
1. Contact Katie Corbett at email@example.com or 603-228-6688 at The New Hampshire Historical Society and let them know you’d like to host a Granite State Stories.
2. Confirm the date and location with NHHS.
3. Submit your Humanities to Go application to New Hampshire Humanities using the application HERE.