Thursday, September 8, 2016

New Hampshire Historical Highway Markers

While doing some research on a local waterfall (or cascade) near my house, I came across a great blog called Mike in New Hampshire. The author, Mike, had written about the falls I was researching and his main motivation to do so was to publish his research on a New Hampshire Historical Marker. In fact, that is what all his blog posts are about. You know the markers I’m talking about. Typically they’re on the side of a NH State highway, made of cast iron, painted green and have some text on them with the State Seal at the peak. We’ve all seen them but I’m not sure how many really take the time to read and appreciate them.

Example of a NH Historical Highway Marker
Image taken from NH Historical Marker Site Interactive Map

While navigating through Mike’s blog, I sadly learned he passed away a few years back, not being able to finish his quest of publishing posts about all the markers in NH. I found his work really interesting and it has sparked my curiosity regarding what markers have been erected in NH…? Around me…? Around the mountains?

After doing a little (easy) digging on the inter-web, I found nh.gov has a page that is dedicated to these markers (https://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/markers/). On this page, you can find a map to all the current markers, download PDF lists of the markers (with applicable information) and even request a NH historical highway marker.

Some cool facts I've learned:
  • There are currently (to date) 255 NH historical highway markers at some status (some are just on order).
  • The markers are jointly managed by the NH Division of Historical Resources and NH Department of Transportation.
  • The interactive map on the website allows you to click on a pinned location and a window gives you the description, location, status and a JPEG of the actual marker!
Screenshot of interactive NH Historical Highway Marker map

If you've read my blog, you know I love anything New Hampshire and history related. So, similar to USGS Benchmarks (or any benchmark for that matter), I’m finding these historical highway markers pretty interesting. I’ll be seeking them out, researching them and publishing what I find here (in between hiking and trip reports that is) in hopes that this blog can serve as a point of interest to others, as Mike’s blog, Mike in New Hampshire was for me.



  1. Very cool! My dad has a fondness for these sorts of markers, I remember as a kid often stopping by the side of the road when he'd find one, just so he could read it.

    My son had a project last year in school for history class in which they had to pick a NH Historical Highway marker, write a paper about the event or persons and submit of photo of themselves at the marker. My son chose the Hannah Dustin marker, and we took the short little walk down to her memorial down by the Merrimack River as well.

    Good luck on your journey through NH history!

    1. Hi Summerset - Thanks for reading!

      I think having the kids do a project on them is a great idea and a fun way to learn history! I don't know much about Hannah Dustin, but from what I do know, she was an incredible woman! Your son must have had fun writing about her.


  2. Thanks for posting this Karl, and helping to raise the awareness of the https://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/markers/ website. I've found this website to be very useful, especially on those occasions when I see a highway marker and either don't have time to stop and read it, or when traffic behind me makes it problematic to safely pull over to read the sign. I know that when I have access to the Internet, then I can read the content of any highway marker that I had to bypass when on the road.


    1. Thanks for reading, John.

      I've typically bypassed these. I'm not really sure why, I've just never taken the time to read them. I'm glad I learned more about them as I'll be paying more attention to them moving forward!


  3. Karl,
    Thank you for creating this blog. I am a NH native and live in the White Mountains (Bethlehem). Two years ago, I started my quest to visit, log, and photograph each of the 255 markers. I completed my last marker in the summer of 2017. Since I began the project, I have written a manuscript that expands information of each marker. It is going to the publisher in April 2018. This project was such a great experience. I have referred to Mike's blog as well for research information. There is another website that I would like to refer to you and your followers created by Richard Marsh. Richard has an excellent website with a vast array of information relating to NH history. The website is http://www.images-of-new-hampshire-history.com/ Another excellent resource is White Mountains History www.whitemountainhistory.org I would be happy to share with you and your followers of the publication date for my book. On a final note, this experience provided me the knowledge and excitement to submit a proposal to the NH Division of Historical Resources for a historical marker in my town honoring the contribution of Frances Glessner Lee. In January 2018, I was informed that the research and evidence was sufficient for my proposal to be advanced to the NH DOT for manufacturing. Looking forward to following your blog. Michael Bruno- Bethlehem NH