Quiet country roads and small town appeal define Brookline, NH
Just over the Massachusetts border, west of Hollis, is the small community of Brookline. Quiet country roads and homes tucked away on wooded lots define Brookline. It is this small-town appeal that has brought many new residents to the town in recent years; this town of nearly 3,000 is now the fastest-growing town in the state.
Brookline was established in 1769, carved out of several surrounding pieces of land. One tract was called The Mile Slip because it was one mile wide, and it slipped by other charter grants given to Hollis and Mason. It sat alone - part of no township - until 1769.
That year, a group of residents in southwest Hollis, feeling that their distance from the center of the town precluded any real town participation, asked the legislature to remove them from the Hollis charter and joined the group from The Mile Slip to form a township.
The two tracts were incorporated under the name of Raby, the name of a town in England where many of the residents' ancestors came from. The name was changed to Brookline in 1789. Considered a poor place at the time, the town was not served by the railroad and had many marginal farms. Early industries included potash, shingles, barrels, furniture making, and a large tannery. With the coming of the railroad to other places, industry languished. It was a four-day trip to Boston by cart.
The railroad finally arrived in the late 19th century, mainly due to the needs of the Fresh Pond Ice Company, which was one of the town's major industries before the advent of refrigeration. In 1914 the company maintained 13 large ice houses that could hold up to 80 tons of ice. A number of historical homes and buildings are located in and around the town center, including the Florence Barnaby house, which is now the headquarters of the Brookline Historical Society. The former Brookline Railroad Station, now a private home, is another historical landmark.
The town's most significant asset today is its land: about 8,000 of Brookline's 13,000 acres remain undeveloped. Recent growth prompted the Planning Board to create an ordinance to limit the number of building permits given out each year. In place since 1994, the ordinance will likely remain as a way to help Brookline preserve its rural character.
Lake Potanipo, the headwaters of the Nissitissit River, is a scenic and popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing in season, Both the Beaver Brook Association and the Nissitissit Land Trust own and manage lands within Brookline. The Conservation Commission manages the 70-acre Palmer Wildlife Preserve and the Taylor-Talbot Wildlife Sanctuary, which include hiking trails, wetlands, and active beaver colonies.
Brookline is home to several one-person and small family businesses. The town's major employers are Grant Plastics, Bingham Lumber, and Hall Manufacturing, which manufactures and sells canvas tote bags.
A doubling of Brookline's population since 1980 shows the word is out on the town's unique combination of rural ambiance, affordable housing, and proximity to both Nashua and Massachusetts. [LARGE MAP]
1990 census: 2,410
1980 census: 1,766
Income (1990 census)
Per Capita Income: $19,564 Median Household income: $57,372 Average Weekly Wage: $449
Housing (1991 census)
Single-Family Units: 792 Multi-Family Units: 57 Mobile Homes: 32 Median Gross Rent: $710 Median Housing Costs: $170,900
Property tax" rate
$32.78 per $1,000 of valuation:
Town, $2.87; County~ $2.27;
Labor force (1990 census)
Total Number of Employers: 61
Total Workers Employed: 1,292
Labor force participation rate (1990)
Male: 88.9% Female: 64.0%
Labor force education levels (1990)
High School and Higher Graduates : 89.8% Bachelor's Degree and Higher: 32.3%