TAVERNS & PUBLIC HOUSES
Oliver Farwell built a tavern prior to 1780 on Naticook Road
near the intersection of Route 101A. Known as the Rockingham
House, it reportedly had a floating dance floor. It was
destroyed by fire in 1931.
McGaw's Tavern was located on Route 3, west of the Merrimack
River near Reed's Ferry landing and was used by river travelers.
it housed the post office, and even later was a gasoline station.
This building was dismantled and moved to Bedford, New Hampshire.
McConihe's Tavern (also known as Nevin's Tavern and the
Merrimack House) was located where the library is now. It was
moved to the other side of Daniel Webster Highway when the library
was built. The building currently houses apartments. [see "History"
for more info]
Riddle's Tavern on at 442 DANIEL WEBSTER HWY was built
by Isaac Riddle in 1807 for the use of the stockholders and
officers of Riddle's Mills. It later became a private home,
then the Country Gourmet Restaurant and Cafe, and later the
Woodbury House & Prime Time Cafe (this was closed 3/18/05);
Currently the building is known as Buckley's Great Steaks.
Hannah Jack Tavern was operated by James Thornton in
the early 1800's. Built by his father Matthew Thornton who signed
the Declaration of Independence. Since then it has been a private
home, doctor's office, apartment house and restaurant. One of
its early names as a restaurant was "The Signer's House"
and later as "Hannah Jacks." The tavern is located
just off Exit 11 of the F.E. Everett Turnpike, near the intersection
of Greeley Street and Daniel Webster Highway in the Thorntons
Ferry section of town. According to the Nashua Telegraph newspaper,
on November 1, 2004 "this building was bought by The
Common Man Hospitality Group, which owns almost a dozen
restaurants in the state. The sale price was $1.1 million, including
the property, furniture and equipment, said Tom Fini, the Bedford
real estate agent who represented the sellers, business partners
George Scully and Richard Turgeon" It is currently called
The Common Man Restaurant.
1798 Jonathan Wheeler built a cape-style house on Peaslee Road.
After his death his daughter inherited the property, and then
her daughters who both married a Mr. Kent. Their son G. Harold
Kent owned "The Kent Homestead" in 1996.
A social library was established in 1798. Later a second
library was formed and finally given to McGaw. In March 1892 a
town library was permanently established. Miss Emma Cross devotedly
served the town as librarian for thirty-eight years, with the
public library located in her home on Loop Road. In 1925 the Lowell
Memorial Library was built on Route 3, as the result of a gift
to the town from Mrs. Mabel Haseltine and Mrs. Bertha Gordon as
a memorial to their parents, Mr. & Mrs. Levi F. Lowell. An
addition was added in 1979.
Riddle built mills for the manufacture of cotton and woolen
goods and nails. He was burnt out June 10,1818, rebuilt, and
carried on the business until again burned out in 1829. Later,
David Henderson carried on an extensive business in the mills
which had been rebuilt, manufacturing carpets, cotton and woolen
goods. Most of the buildings were once more destroyed by fire
in 1882, but fortunately the building owned by Thomas Parker
escaped. Riddle's Mills were replaced by the Old White
Mill. In 1906 this mill was bought by the McElwain Shoe Company
and soles for military boots were manufactured. The building
housed a chemical company in 1996.
1820, Merrimac contained 1 meeting house, 9 school districts
and school houses, 5 taverns, 5 stores, 8 saw mills, 5 grain
mills, 2 clothing mills, 2 carding machines and 2 tanneries.
1873 the Fessenden & Lowell company commenced business at
Reeds Ferry and were manufacturers of fish and syrup packages,
cooper stock, and lumber [lumber, kits, pails, kegs, half-barrels
and barrels]. Nearly all of this was made from native pine bought
in the vicinity of their mills. It was owned by Anson D. Fessenden
of Townsend, Mass. and Levi F. Lowell, of Merrimack, NH. In
1893 when the partnership was changed to a stock company, retaining
the same name. In 1906 it was managed by Levi F. Lowell, President
and General Manger with George P. Butterfield as general manager
of the package department and John E. Haseltine manager for
the store and the mill. Alfred N. Fessenden, son of Anson D.
Fessenden of Townsend MA was then treasurer.
and Lowell also built a company store [see
old photograph] on the corner of Depot Street and Route
3 for the convenience of the employees of their cooper shop.
[a second source states that "the local store belonging
to Mr. Haseltine was taken into the corporation, and has been
running as a cash grocery."]. Charles Nesmith, an associate
of Fessenden and Lowell, operated the store for a time. A fire
destroyed this store it was rebuilt and became the property
of the Jenkins family. The post office was located in this building
with Raymond Jenkins as postmaster. Later Stanley and Millie
Green operated the store when it became known as the Reed's
The old store at Reed's Ferry, kept by Jacob McGaw and then
by his son Robert McGaw, is where Matthew Thornton, Jacob Burnap,
Horace Greeley and other celebrities of the day used to trade.