Business and Industry

Chapter 15 -- Part 9

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Hampton's location astride Route 1, along the major north-south highway in New England, seemed to indicate that the community would develop as a major commercial center. History and geography have dictated otherwise. The port cities of Newburyport and Portsmouth have been commercial centers since before the American Revolution, and Exeter, with its abundant water power and its position as the Rockingham County seat, developed as a commercial and industrial town. Hampton could not compete as a business center with these three communities. So few changes have occurred in Hampton Center since 1900 that new Hampton residents are often surprised to see that turn-of-the-century photographs of Hampton Center reveal that it looked then much as it does today.

Hampton has tried to develop a broader industrial and commercial base, both to generate more taxes and to provide primary and service jobs for its citizens, but despite noble efforts by many people, Hampton's primary transition has been from a farming town to a recreational and residential community.

In discussing the business and industry of Hampton in the past 100 years, the emphasis here is on the earlier years, for which there are fewer businesses to document. Many of these businesses had a great impact upon the relatively small town that Hampton was until the middle of this century.

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