The Town of Tamworth,
Nestled between the majestic White Mountains
and the Lakes Region of New Hampshire SITS
THE TOWN OF TAMWORTH.
Across over 250 years, it has remained a place of stunning natural beauty as well as a vibrant cultural community.
Our story began in 1766, when Tamworth was granted a charter by England’s King George III, in the name of New Hampshire governor Benning Wentworth. Early settlers began to build homesteads and planted the first crops — nearly all were farmers, growing corn, wheat, and rye. Gristmills soon began turning, powered by the town’s rivers and streams.
Despite the idyllic landscape, life was not easy. In the first half of the 19th century alone, citizens of Tamworth endured a smallpox epidemic, famines resulting from “cold years”, the Siege of Wolves, and even a “Year Without A Summer”, in which snow fell during every month of 1827.
Through this hardship, however, grew industry: saw mills, shingle mills, and turning mills popped up throughout the town, and around them the villages of South Tamworth, Whittier Chocorua, Wonalancet, and Tamworth formed, with houses, schools, and churches. Tradesmen and artisans — including loggers, backsmiths, millers, shoemakers, coopers, seamstresses, bakers, and weavers — all flourished. The old Tamworth General Store was built in 1826 – the same year the American Lyceum movement began. Thoreau passed by here in 1858, stayed at a nearby inn, possibly stepped through the doors of what is now Tamworth Lyceum.
Tamworth began its longstanding reputation as a summer getaway in the post-Civil War era, inviting visitors to local inns and boarding houses to enjoy the mountains, lakes, rivers and trails as well as a taste of small town, rural living. Entertainment was brought in as well, with everything from baseball teams to circuses to elephants all bringing their tours to Tamworth.
For many artists, writers, and thinkers — including e.e. cummings, Grover Cleveland, and Henry James — the town provided solace far from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Cleveland’s son, Francis, founded a Tamworth landmark, the Barnstormers Theatre. The oldest continuously running professional theatre in the country, the Barnstormers produces a variety of comedies, musicals, and other performances each summer.
Tamworth’s legacy endures through to the present day. It remains a popular summer retreat for individuals from across New England, drawn by its historic charm, tight-knit community, and beautiful natural resources, including Mount Chocorua (the most photographed mountain in the country).