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) 

  • First state to have all female State Leaders (Gov, Sen Pres, Speaker, Supreme Court Chief Justice) 2012 Maggie Hassen, Jeanne Shaheen, Ann McLane Kuster, Carol Shea-Porter, Justice Linda Dalianis

  • 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: https://gencourt.state.nh.us/nh_visitorcenter/default.htm
NH State Council on the Arts – Folk Life: https://www.nh.gov/folklife/learning-center/firsts-bests.htm
New England Ski Museum – Ski History for 4th graders: http://newenglandskimuseum.org/new-hampshire-ski-history-for-4rth-graders/
Wikipedia 

Please email info@nhgsa.com with any errors / omissions.