Dover Facts and History


Dover, New Hampshire - The Garrison City

The city of Dover has a long and colorful history spanning nearly four centuries. Its earliest days as a colonial seaport led to a successful shipbuilding industry in the 1700s, and it flourished in the 19th century as the nation's leading manufacturer of cotton goods. The development of a brick industry spanned decades of successful mill operations through the middle of the 20th century. Dover's renaissance as a thriving, competitive community continues today.

The quality of life in Dover is unmatched. Dover boasts an exceptional school system, outstanding parks and recreation services, as well as premier medical facilities. The downtown area reflects the city's mill heritage. The Cochecho River graces the banks of the downtown. Members of the community hustle by on shopping or business trips.

Dover is nestled between the mountains and the ocean. The community is close to the University of New Hampshire, Pease International Tradeport and harbors a local airport. The city is a short drive to the Port of New Hampshire, the state's only deep water port, scene to industrial barges escorted by tugs, importing and exporting goods to and from the Granite State. Dover is a quick commute to the metropolitan area of Boston, and less than an hour's drive to Boston's Logan International Airport. In addition, there is easy access to rail and highway transportation routes.

Dover aerial

Dover's response to the challenge of changing economic times is evident along Central Avenue, the city's primary north/south connector. Trees line the downtown sidewalks and arch over renovated store fronts. The restored and updated Cochecho Falls Millworks, a focal point since the early 19th century, hums with activity. Today, however, the source of the hum is 900 office workers and their computers rather than rows of whirring machinery.

The developing waterfront and Cochecho River-walk are small examples of a cooperative spirit between public and private sectors. Nowhere is this spirit more evident than in the close working relationship between the city's Office of Economic Development, the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce and the Dover School System. The groups share a common goal of creating, preserving and promoting a sound environment for existing and prospective businesses. The community is ensuring future generations are up to the challenge of perpetuating economic prosperity in Dover

Dover has not been left behind by successful modern manufacturers. The whir of high technology and movement of heavy equipment takes place in attractive industrial parks located on the outskirts of the city. As part of an ongoing commitment to commercial and industrial growth, a 400-plus-acre parcel has been rezoned. The parcel is being improved to accommodate companies drawn to Dover's business-friendly environment.

The success of Dover's continuing economic development is due to cooperative efforts between the public and private sectors. The community is home to individuals and private businesses that invest ideas, time and finances to improve municipal services, the economic climate and quality of life.

Farther north, just outside the downtown area, is the "Miracle Mile", home to two major shopping plazas, familiar fast-food restaurants and other services.

Want to learn more about the City of Dover's history?

The Dover Public Library is home to a wide variety of historical resources, including books, maps, photos and newspaper archives. The Public Library also maintains an online page of of historical resources and information, which can be viewed here.

The Woodman Museum on Central Avenue in Dover contains hundreds of Dover artifacts and exhibits, including the Damm Garrison House. 

Travel back in history each week by subscribing to Dover Download, the City's weekly newsletter. Each edition includes "This Week in History," a look back at historic events in Dover.