7 Abandoned Places in New Hampshire

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

New Hampshire is one of those states that people never really think of when it comes to thrills. Quiet and country, this northeastern has a lot of nice, serene areas that are great for hiking and skiing.

However, it’s not the place you go when you want something spooky…or is it? Like every other state in the nation, you can expect to find a bunch of abandoned places to explore…

New Hampshire’s abandoned world includes everything from entire ghost towns, to abandoned factories, to abandoned malls, and more. These below are some of the more fascinating abandoned places to visit:

  • Old Hill Village
  • Madame Sherri’s 
  • The Isles Of Shoals
  • Livermore
  • Bemis Granite Quarry
  • Elbow Pond Cabin Community
  • The Laconia State School

Urban explorers have a lot to see in New Hampshire, and there is a lot more than you would expect to have here. This article will reveal a handful of the best urbex areas we’ve uncovered so far…

The Most Fascinating Abandoned Places In New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a place that has a much longer and more interesting history than most people give it credit for. These cool areas prove that point well, especially if you like ghost stories.

1. Old Hill Village – Franklin Hills Reservoir

Most people are aware that Silent Hill was partly inspired by Centralia, but it’s not the only city that inspired it. One of the other rumored places that are said to have added inspiration is Old Hill Village.

This small New Hampshire village was pretty normal, but then the government made plans to build a reservoir on top of the village.

The entire village, including 1000 residents, had to be relocated to a small place nearby. Today, you can still see some of the foundations of the old building as well as some of the older structures poking out from the water.

2. Madame Sherri’s – Chesterfield

New Hampshire wasn’t always the quiet and quaint place it once was. At one point, it was pretty wild. Or at least, Chesterfield was. Madame Sherri was a French (or French Canadian) transplant who set up a home in the area.

At the time, Sherri was known as a costume designer who moved from New York City to Connecticut after she retired. But, there are other tawdry things to be said, too.

Rumor has it that she moonlighted as a madam since people could be seen partying it up every single night in her home. Whatever the reason, she was the belle of the ball.

A fire broke out and destroyed her home. The money for the grand entertainment ended up drying up sooner than that, so there was no chance to rebuild. She died in poverty in 1962, though rumor has it that her spirit never truly left.

3. The Isles Of Shoals – The Isles Of Shoals

Technically, New Hampshire has ownership of these islands so we’re going to include them. The Isles of Shoals are salt islands that are found 10 miles off the coast of the state.

These small islands were the home to lighthouses that were built to avoid boats capsizing off the coast. The area has been largely abandoned, though there are still a handful of residents who claim that they are not going to move.

The Isle of Shoals was never very populated, but these days, it can be downright eerie. Some say that you can also see ghost ships off the coast.

However, the truth is that most of the time, the reason that it’s abandoned is that we don’t do ports the way that we used to. Cargo has major port hotspots on the East Coast, rather than tiny places people can dock ships.

4. Livermore

Like most other states, New Hampshire has a handful of ghost towns that once had a lot of promise but just didn’t work out for one reason or another.

One of the more fascinating stories is the tale of Livermore. This ill-fated logging town was a major hotspot back in 1876. Most people felt like it was going to be the next Nashua. What ended up happening was nothing short of shocking.

At first, it started with a deadly smallpox epidemic. Then, the town faced multiple grisly deaths—including a child getting hit by a train and a murder.

Sometimes, logs would fall on the residents. Life was just tough here! Then, around the turn of the century, the logging industry died. Shortly after, a flood destroyed much of the buildings and infrastructure.

5. Bemis Granite Quarry – Hart’s Location

If you can’t tell from all the discussion about mining and logging that surrounds New Hampshire history, mining is a major deal. Or, at least, it was.

The beginning of New Hampshire’s time as a state was often spent mining rocks from quarries. One of the more important granite quarries of the state was Bemis.

This quarry provided a lot of the stonework for early Americans. It slowly faded off the map, though New Hampshire is still known as the Granite State.

However, this is not the only granite quarry that remains abandoned. There are dozens of them throughout the state, including a couple that is known as “swimming holes” after water flooded their pits.

6. Elbow Pond Cabin Community – Woodstock

Elbow Pond is one of those magical New Hampshire places where people go when they want to get away from it all. The isolated pond is noted for having mellow fishing, gorgeous sites, and plenty of wildlife. To a point, it is a good camping space that remains pretty darn far from most of society.

This is the kind of place that holds a lot of secrets. One of them is a small community of cabins that once acted as a year-round home for a small group of friends.

One by one the homes got abandoned. Now, they’re just chilling out there. Oddly enough, they aren’t the only cabins by the lake. They’re just the only ones that are abandoned.

There are no tragic tales or ghost stories behind these cabins. Like many parts of New Hampshire, this is just a place that time forgot.

7. The Laconia State School – Laconia

It wouldn’t be an article about abandoned places without a story about an evil school or hospital, would it? Well, this time around, we’re going to take a look at the Laconia State School. Initially made as a poorhouse for the deeply destitute in the early 1800s, the government repurposed it to become a school for the mentally handicapped in 1903.

The school initially had only 83 “students,” but that didn’t stay for long. What was at first meant to be individual care quickly became known for its overcrowding and student abuse.

In 1915, the state outlawed married for anyone who was found to be mentally handicapped. The government then instituted a law saying that men who wanted to live outside the school needed to be sterilized.

To accommodate for everything, the school got a hospital addition. Even so, the area quickly became overcrowded with over 600 people living there by the 1940s. The conditions became so foul, people who served in WWII likened it to a concentration camp. Shockingly, courts allowed the school to continue operation until 1991. It now remains abandoned.

Why Are There So Many Abandoned Towns In New Hampshire?

Like many other New England regions, New Hampshire underwent several major transformations when it comes to commerce and infrastructure. In most cases, people tend to move to places that have jobs for them to do. New Hampshire had a massive granite mining business up until the early part of the 19th century.

When the bubble burst, many parts of the state lost people. People also stopped wanting to do mining as a job, which means that the cities that continued the trade weren’t as hot as they once were.

Related Questions

Are there any abandoned properties for sale in New Hampshire?

There are, and there are several ways to find them. You can check out the New Hampshire Preservation Society or hit up public auctions if you want to get a building that was left abandoned. In most cases, they get put up for auction or remaining parts of the local city with a right to resell.Just be forewarned, if you want to buy an abandoned property, you may have to pay extra. Most abandoned places have heavy tax liens that need to be cleared out before they can be legally purchased. Talking to a real estate attorney will give you a better idea of whether this is a good choice for you.

What are some of the best-lost ski areas in New Hampshire?

Skiing is always going to be a major part of New Hampshire’s culture. Most people don’t realize this, but several mountains hold lost ski areas.If you want to give a quieter ski area a try, you might want to try Cannon Mountain Ski Resort or the Lost Trail Ski Area. With that said,  you can usually ask locals if there’s a hotspot that you don’t know about. They are pretty open to giving tips, ya know!

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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