Urban Renewal

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The Dover Public Library website offers public access to a wide range of information, including historical materials that are products of their particular times, and may contain values, language or stereotypes that would now be deemed insensitive, inappropriate or factually inaccurate. However, these records reflect the shared attitudes and values of the community from which they were collected and thus constitute an important social record.

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Urban Renewal

After World War II, the City of Dover realized that there wasn’t enough parking downtown, Central Avenue was recognized as one of the busiest roads in the state, and there was no place for businesses and housing to expand. The Dover Housing Authority developed a plan to redevelop substandard areas, including a location known as “Hollywood” or Shantytown, near the intersection of Tolend Road and Whittier Street.  Most of the houses were shacks, not fit for human habitation. President Harry Truman approved plans and funds to demolish the houses and provide new public housing. In June of 1952, burning of the dilapidated houses began. By December of 1953 Mineral Park was completed, offering clean and modern housing for 124 families.

President Truman
President Harry S. Truman visited Dover in 1952.

Between 1974 and 1978, the city of Dover undertook a $9 million urban renewal project that encompassed the Orchard, Waldron, Myrtle, Chestnut, Fayette, and Green Street areas. 15.8 acres including 119 dwelling units, 56 buildings, and 33 businesses were razed. Waldron and Myrtle Streets were eliminated and the entire face of the neighborhood, which had become dilapidated, changed dramatically.

For more information on the history of the Housing Authority and urban renewal in Dover, read Mark Leno’s excellent book, “Strong Foundation for the Future: The History of the Dover, New Hampshire Housing Authority 1948-2008.

Waldron StreetWaldron Street, circa 1950s.

Court StreetCourt Street, 1963.

Court Street Market
Court Street Market

Waldron StWaldron Street, circa 1950s.

Waldron Street
The view of the Waldron and Orchard Street neighborhood from the Cocheco River. The brick building on the right is the O'Neill house which was a boarding house for mill workers.

Waldron Street
The view of the Waldron and Orchard Street neighborhood from the Cocheco River, circa 1950.

warehouse
The warehouse on Washington Street.

Hollywood
Hollywood, also known as Shantytown.

Hollywood
Hollywood

Hollywood
Hollywood

HollywoodHollywood

 

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