Walking Through History in Peterborough

brick and column town hallwith flag on a sunny day

Peterborough’s Town House has a long history!

Summer winds down, the pace slows, and it is the perfect time to experience history in person. Hands on exploration is the highlight of Peterborough’s Historical Walking Tour. Using the town’s website on your smartphone will let you access the web app you’ll want as a companion for the walking tour. There you can decide your path throughout town! On the main page there’s a list of places to check out along with services should you need them, and also the option to start the “Our Town’ Tour. The rest of the app shows you a list of places on the historical tour and their location, and even lists them by street if you prefer to do one street at a time.

Street signs that list Grove and Main as Grover's Corner

The famous Grover’s Corner from Our Town!

I started with the Our Town Tour, walking about downtown Peterborough while reading at each place I stopped. Something that I enjoyed the most about the tour was learning about the businesses that helped found our town center, the changes that came about through the turn of the century, and finding unique hidden gems I would’ve never spotted if I wasn’t already exploring. It is especially fun for fans of Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town. Wilder wrote the play while he was in Peterborough, and the very first scene helps lay the town out. On the app you can tap on each location mentioned in the play, which then brings you to a page on the actual location it was based on in Peterborough. This was really fun for me to see using the app, as each entry has an either stylized current photo or antique photos of the location from the past.

domed entrance into a brick library with blue mural on the ceiling

This was a pleasant surprise to find at the entrance of the library.

After I finished the tour, I decided to take a little break at a bench just outside the library. This was one of the stops on the tour, and as someone who has never used the entrance into the original building of the library, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the dome entryway had a beautiful ceiling mural I admired for a bit. From there I headed up Concord Street to learn about the different buildings and homes that lead away from downtown. The app shows you what the location currently looks like, and if you tap on the history of that spot it’ll show you any old or original photos and information about it throughout the years. While some of the locations are just residential and don’t offer insight aside from original owners and the year they were built, other places have lots of detail thanks to the long history of the building. Even the inn is on there, and if you’ve ever wanted to learn the history of our hotel’s location and its vast changes to become the Jack Daniel’s, be sure to look at our entry on the app!

long brick building that houses a bookshop sits with a parking lot next to it

The Toadstool is actually the location of the original Depot of Depot Square

There’s lots more to explore than just downtown Peterborough and Concord Street, and you can walk all over using the app as your guide to the history of our little town at your fingertips.

 

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