As a quintessential New England town, Alstead, New Hampshire is long on charm and history but short on population with only a little over 2,000 residents. Alstead was originally named Newton; historically, name changes were common, usually due to multiple towns having the same name; but Alstead didn't just change its name. It was chartered as a New Hampshire village in 1763, but in 1781 decided to become part of Vermont which it bordered. Whatever the reason for the change in state affiliation, the residents quickly rescinded their decision and rejoined New Hampshire the next year.
A glimpse into the Alstead, New Hampshire business directory a couple of hundred years, had a directory been available would have shown a number of small mills and family farms. Today the mills are gone but the industries they connected with have remained. The town has a locally owned retail lumber business, a woodworking business and a machine shop. Evidence of the continued health and vigor of small town America can be found in the Alstead, New Hampshire yellow pages; although most townspeople, 65 percent, have to travel outside Alstead to find work, the remainder are able to work in town. The residents enjoy, according to the latest census, a low 4.8 unemployment rate which compares favorably with 5.2 percent for the state.
Alstead's solid foundation is seldom rocked by earthquakes. Earthquake danger in all of New Hampshire is low but Alstead's is below the state's average and 81 percent below the U.S. average. Tornado activity, however, is higher in Alstead then for New Hampshire at large but still slightly lower than the rest of the country. Damage inflicted by Mother Nature in Alstead is generally in the form of flooding as a result of heavy rain or snow.
Written by Lyndsey Morgan