Originally called by the Indian name "Watanic," Nashua began as a fur-trading post. The area was first settled in 1656 and pioneers renamed the area "Dunstable" after a town in England. Very few people were willing to stay due to the threat from local Indians. Following the Civil War, however, the area began to experience tremendous industrial growth. A gristmill was built down the Merrimack and a stagecoach began a weekly route. Transportation by water was made possible in 1826 and a canal boat was built to navigate the Merrimack River. Large-scale industrial production began in earnest and the name of the town was changed to Nashua on the last day of the year in 1836.
From such humble beginnings, Nashua has evolved into a center of recreation and culture. Two large parks, Greeley and Mine Falls, are important cornerstones of community activity. There is plenty of room for walking, jogging and, during the winter months, cross-country skiing. The American Defenders of New Hampshire minor league baseball team plays at Holman Stadium, where Brooklyn Dodger Roy Campanella played on the first integrated baseball team in the U.S. Nashua's Summerfest and Fourth of July Field Day are two important annual events.
Nashua is also a surprisingly diverse cultural center. The town boasts a symphony orchestra and choral society, two ballet companies, an internationally ranked barbershop chorus, an art gallery, two historical museums, and a theatrical performance company. Nearby Milford is home to the nationally renowned American Stage Festival summer stock theater, which has been entertaining audiences for more than 20 years.
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