How does the past shape the future?

Everyone agrees there’s something special about the Monadnock region that draws so many here for the summer, fall foliage season and beyond. Mount Monadnock and other scenic features are popular among outdoor enthusiasts, and the Peterborough Players, MacDowell Colony and the various live music opportunities, among many others, provide a draw for arts lovers. Some who visit decide to make the area their home, as did the McGraths of Francestown.

Following the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Village Store earlier this month, Deb McGrath took the opportunity to reflect on what makes Francestown so special (see page 9). It’s not the economic opportunity, she says, so much as the intimacy of small-town living, a feeling of inclusiveness, a sense that every voice matters. But in our communities throughout southwestern New Hampshire there’s also a shared history and identity, one that stretches back to before the American Revolution.

Historical societies in each town, annual celebrations and traditions, as well as the care communities provide for the maintenance of historic landmarks and buildings, bespeak the importance of our history. From Old Home Days celebrated in Antrim and Hancock, the Pots and Pans Parade in Greenville and the Children’s Fair in New Ipswich, to the weekend of Labor Day celebrations held each year in Francestown, Monadnock region residents enjoy a rich history of rituals and customs.

Greenfield has already begun preparations to celebrate its 225th anniversary in 2016. This fall, Peterborough will celebrate its 275th anniversary, and there’s a lot to celebrate. A parade, live music, 18th-century re-enactors and much, much more will be on offer on Oct. 11, with a kickoff the evening before.

The Ledger-Transcript wants to commemorate the occasion, too, so we’re reaching out to folks with stories and photos of Peterborough’s past to share. Personal stories and remembrances can be submitted by email to news@ledgertranscript.com, with “275th” in the subject line, or by mail to P.O. Box 36, Peterborough, NH, 03458. Include your town of residence and a number where you can be reached.

They say that knowing where you came from is as important as knowing where you are going. We hope the celebrations ahead in Peterborough will help to inform us as our vision for the future comes into sharper focus. The town’s Master Plan Steering Committee is currently working with the UNH Cooperative to develop a survey based upon the results of the Vision Forum 2014, which have been collated in a report posted on the town’s website.

There’s a lot to look forward to, and the 275th is a great opportunity to reflect on the past.

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