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Blais & Associates, Realtors®
32 Monadnock Hwy.
Keene, NH 03431
Phone (603) 352-1972
Fax (603) 352-0545

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Jaffrey is a town in Cheshire County New Hampshire, United States. The population was 5,476 at the 2000 census.

The primary settlement in town, where over 51% of the population resides, is defined as the Jaffrey census-designated place (CDP) and is located along the Contoocook River at the junction of U.S. Route 202 and New Hampshire Routes 124 and 137.

History

First granted in 1736 to soldiers from Rowley, Massachusetts, returning from the war in Canada, the town was known as "Rowley-Canada". In 1749, the town was re-chartered by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth as "Monadnock No. 2", sometimes called "Middle Monadnock" or "Middletown". It was one of the first towns established under the New Hampshire proprietors' purchase of undivided lands under the Masonian claim.

Settled about 1758, the town was regranted in 1767. It would be incorporated in 1773 by Governor John Wentworth, and named for George Jaffrey, member of a prominent Portsmouth family. Jaffrey's son was a life trustee of Dartmouth College, and designer of the official college seal. The Contoocook River provided water power for mills. Village prosperity would be expressed in fine antique architecture, including the Town Meetinghouse, built in 1775.

Beginning in the 1840s, the area's scenic beauty attracted tourists, and several summer hotels were built at the base of Mount Monadnock, enduringly popular with hikers. Some who scaled the summit were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Rudyard Kipling. The experience inspired Emerson in 1845 to write the poem, "Monadnoc".

Jaffrey was the setting for a 1950 biography by Elizabeth Yates entitled Amos Fortune, Free Man, winner of the 1951 Newbery Medal. Amos Fortune was an African-born slave who purchased his freedom and that of his wife, and established a tannery in the village. He is buried in the local cemetery, together with bandbox craftswoman, Hannah Davis, and author, Willa Cather, who was a summer resident.

Jaffrey was the inspiration for a chapter in Parliament of Whores by PJ O'Rourke, who was a resident for several years.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 40.0 square miles (104 km2), of which 38.3 sq mi (99 km2) is land and 1.7 sq mi (4.4 km2) is water, comprising 4.32% of the town. The town center, or census-designated place, has a total area of 2.6 sq mi (6.7 km2). 2.5 sq mi (6.5 km2) of it is land and 0.1 sq mi (0.26 km2) of it (3.83%) is water.

Thorndike Pond is in the north, and Contoocook Lake is on the southern boundary. Mount Monadnock, elevation 3,165 feet (965 m) above sea level and the highest point in Jaffrey, is in the northwest. Jaffrey lies mostly within the Merrimack River watershed, via the Contoocook River in the eastern part of the town, with the northwest corner of town lying in the Ashuelot River watershed, part of the larger Connecticut River watershed.

Located in southeast Cheshire County, the town of Jaffrey is bordered by Dublin to the north, Peterborough and Sharon to the east (both part of Hillsborough County), Rindge to the south, and Troy and Marlborough to the west.

Demographics

Click here to open Jaffrey NH School Profile

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,476 people, 2,120 households, and 1,464 families residing in the town. The population density was 143.0 people per square mile (55.2/km²). There were 2,352 housing units at an average density of 23.7 persons/km² (61.4 persons/sq mi). The racial makeup of the town was 97.32% White, 0.42% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.69% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.04% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. 0.57% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,120 households out of which 33.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.7% were married couples living together, 11.3% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 30.9% were non-families. 24.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the town the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $45,033, and the median income for a family was $48,703. Males had a median income of $35,349 versus $26,773 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,412. 7.8% of the population and 3.8% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 10.2% are under the age of 18 and 10.0% are 65 or older.

Town center

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,802 people, 1,157 households, and 730 families residing in the town center, or census-designated place. The population density was 1,114.2 people per square mile (431.0/km²). There were 1,217 housing units at an average density of 187.2 persons/km² (483.9 persons/sq mi). The racial makeup of the town was 97.39% White, 0.29% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.68% Asian, and 1.39% from two or more races. 0.64% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,157 households out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 13.4% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 36.9% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 96.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.9 males.

The median income for a household is $35,880, and the median income for a family was $45,343. Males had a median income of $29,606 versus $26,833 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,781. 10.8% of the population and 5.0% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 12.8% are under the age of 18 and 10.2% are 65 or older.

School system

Jaffrey, along with the town of Rindge, is part of the Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District, also known as SAU 47. The public schools in the town are Jaffrey Grade School (grades K–5), Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School (6–8), and Conant High School (9–12). There is also a parochial school, St. Patrick School (K–8), as well as a private high school, Victory High School (9–12).

Since 1997, there has been debate over the necessity of a new high school due to increasing enrollment. Overcrowding is said to be a problem, but residents have voted against building expansion. Six modular classrooms (two at the high school, four at the middle school) are currently rented to accommodate students. In 2005, voters passed a bill to add an addition onto the existing middle school, update the science laboratories in the high school, and construct a running track in place of existing wetlands. The whole project is scheduled to be completed in 2008.

Master Plan

As with many small rural towns in New England, Jaffrey enters the 21st century grappling with the issues of how to cope with increased population growth and development pressures. Both for tourism and for quality of life of its residents, open undeveloped land is an important component of the town's attractions. In the 2007 update to its Master Plan, the town specifically cites a desire to preserve open space and rural character. The challenge facing the town, however, is how to accomplish this goal while still providing for the economic and housing growth that will ensure the long-term viability of the community.

An upgraded town wastewater treatment plant due to come online in 2009 will bring new challenges. One way to defray the high cost of the new plant without excessive increases in the rate structure will be to increase the number of sewer users. This potential strategy will be limited, however, by the town's expressed desire to maintain a compact development pattern around the existing town population centers. In order to accommodate these disparate goals, the primary strategic task facing the town in the upcoming years will be to plan for population density levels and patterns within the town that optimize both livability and economic viability.


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