New Hampshire Firsts

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  • First in the nation primary – New Hampshire has held a presidential primary since 1916 and started the tradition of being the first presidential primary in the United States starting in 1920.

  • First written State Constitution in the New World and set the stage for the Declaration of Independence which was written six months later 1775

  • First gondola used for transporting skiers up a mountain – 1958 Wildcat (2 person gondola) 

  • NH was the first state to have all female elected leaders when Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, Speaker Donna Sytek, and Senate President Beverly Hollingworth were all elected to their positions, and later, NH topped that by having ALL 3 branches of the State lead by women:  Governor Maggie Hassan, Senate President Sylvia Larsen, Speaker of the House Terie Norelli, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Dalanis.


  • First state to have ALL female legislators sent to Washington. D.C. – Jeanne Shaheen, Kelly Ayotte,  Ann McLane Kuster, Carol Shea-Porter

  • First state to have two female US Senators of different political parties

  • First mountain-climbing train in the nation – 1866  The Cog took delivery of Peppersass [originally named ‘Hero’]

  • First American in space (Alan B. Shepard) 1961 Mercury spacecraft – capsule named Freedom 7. Launched on Redstone Rocket. Did not orbit earth – flew 116 miles high and came back down (15.5 minutes).

  • First town forest – 1710 Newington (then part of Dover)

  • First ski school in America – 1929 Sugar Hill —Peckett’s-on-Sugar Hill ski school, near Franconia, NH, founded by Katharine “Kate” Peckett to become the first resort based ski school in the U.S.

  • First female majority legislative body – the State Senate in 2008

  • Largest early ski jump in eastern United States and foremost jump in the US – Nansen Ski Jump was the largest for almost 50 years. Constructed 1936-38. 171 foot steel frame tower / 310 foot runway

  • First Teacher in Space – 1986 Christa McAuliffe – Challenger

  • First state library in America – New Hampshire State Library 1717

  • First public-funded through taxation library in America – Peterborough 1833

  • First act of the Revolutionary War thus breaking ties with England— 1774 the attack on Fort William and Mary, New Castle

  • One of oldest auto race in USA – 1904 Mt Washington Hill Climb

  • First alarm clock – Levi Hutchins 1787 (mechanical alarm)

  • Longest golf drive ever – Alan Shepard – 2.5 miles – moon

  • Only state where the parks system is completely funded by user fees instead of appropriations from the budget

  • Merrimack Clydesdales – only horses to ever play football in a Super Bowl commercial

  • Longest running lottery in the USA – initially tied to horse races instead of number draws to avoid federal anti-lottery laws. 1963 Sweepstakes Program.

  • First national day of Thanksgiving 1863 was proclaimed through the efforts of NH’s Sarah Josepha Hale

  • First legal state lottery 1964

  • First woman to edit a magazine – Sara Josepha Hale 1828-36 Ladies Magazine;  1837-77 Godey’s Lady Book

  • First African-American female to publish a novel – 1859 Harriet (Adams) Wilson, Milford – Our Nig; Or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black

  • Largest American flag – Manchester Millyard 1814

  • First submarine 1917 – L-8 Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

  • Longest covered bridge – Cornish-Windsor 1866 449’ two-span, town lattice-truss crosses Connecticut River between Cornish NH and Windsor VT.

  • Oldest covered bridge still in use – 1829 Bath-Haverhill Bridge – Route 135 crossing Ammonoosuc River. Town lattice truss with arches, 256 feet long. First and only bridge on this site.

  • First America’s cup  1873 Grand Opening Regata – opening of Oceanic Hotel. Isles of Shoals to Boon Island. Won by “America”

  • Oldest/Largest artists’ colony – 1907 McDowell Artists Colony, Peterborough

  • First integrated baseball team – Nashua Dodgers farm club of the Brooklyn Dodgers 1946-1949. Played at Holman Stadium, Nashua

  • First “Old Home” days – 1899 (under Governor Rollins) – 44 NH towns held Old Home Week celebrations the last week in August. Invented by Frank Rollins.

  • League of NH Craftsmen 1932 first in nation – set up by Gov. John Winant

  • First credit union – St. Mary’s 1908

  • Oldest unrestored meeting house – Danville 1725

  • First alien abduction in America- Betty and Barney Hill, Woodstock, NH

  • First serial killer – H. H. Holmes (Herman Mudgett), Gilmanton 1861-1896

  • First Warship built in North America (1690 HMS Falkland – commissioned by British Government – added to Royal Navy 1695)

  • First US Navy Shipyard – 1800 Fernald’s Island, Piscataqua River – first government-sanctioned

  • First Organization to protect forests in the nation – 1901 Society for the Protection of NH Forests

  • First American Ski Film – premiered 1932 at National Ski Association meeting in Chicago

  • First American Book on Skiing – serialized in 1931 and 1932 issues of ‘Dartmouth Alumni Magazine’ “Modern Ski Technique by Otto Schniebs and John McCrillis

  • Oldest Ski Club in Nation – 1882 Skiklubben (renamed to Nansen Ski club)

  • First Snow Train in the Nation: AMC sponsored a Boston & Maine RR train in 1931 (Boston – Warner)

  • First Skimobile in Nation – 1938 Mount Cranmore

  • First Aerial Tramway in North America – 1938 Cannon Mountain 2,022’ vertical ascent in under 8 minutes

  • Oldest continuous conservation and mountaineering club in North America – Appalachian Mountain Club 1876

  • First Interactive Video Game in Nation – 1966 Ralph H Baer, Sanders Associates 1969

  • First Transatlantic Cable in Nation – 1874  ocean telecommunications cable Europe to America was in Rye Beach, NH

  • First Machinists’ Tool Manufacturer – 1845 shop of John Gage, Nashua Manufacturing Company

  • Largest Shaker Community Dwelling – 1837 Enfield Shaker – Great Stone Dwelling

  • First Women’s Strike in Nation – 1828 Cocheco Mills, Dover

  • Largest State Legislature in the Oldest Representative’s Hall in the Nation – 400 members still meet in original chambers at NH State House built in 1819

  • First meeting of the Republican Party – 1853 – Amos Tuck called meeting in Exeter

  • First professional (paid) ski patrol in America – Cannon Mountain 1938 [Mount Hood in Oregon has a single patroller in 1937]

Primary Sources:
NH State House Visitor Center:
NH State Council on the Arts – Folk Life:
New England Ski Museum – Ski History for 4th graders:

Please email with any errors / omissions.