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Oldest Businesses In Hanover That Are Still Around Today

Apr 08, 2022 12:58PM ● By Rose Terami

Photo from The Hanover Inn website.

Hanover has been an evolving place of commerce since its conception in 1761, when the Royal Governor of New Hampshire, Governor Benning Wentworth, granted a charter of 22,400 acres on the west side of the River to 68 proprietors from Connecticut. That land became the town of Hanover. After the addition of Dartmouth College to the community in 1769 by Eleazer Wheelock, the industry began to grow. Mills, churches, schools, and other infrastructure were built, followed by transportation, a hotel, a hospital, a movie theatre, and more. Businesses have come and gone over the years, and several have been with us for over a century.

1901—The Hanover Inn

The Hanover Inn is the oldest continuously operating hotel in New Hampshire. The building’s first life was as the home of General Ebenezer Brewster, who became Dartmouth College steward in 1769. Brewster redesigned the home into a tavern in 1780. In 1813, the building was moved and became known as the ‘Dartmouth Hotel’ after undergoing construction. In 1815, the Wheelock Hotel was built; in 1901, it was reconstructed by Dartmouth College and renamed “Hanover Inn Dartmouth,” as it is known today.

1916—The Nugget Theatre

The History of the Nugget began in February 1914, when there was talk of opening a theatre in Hanover. The original idea was that Dartmouth students would run the business, and it would be called the “Hanover Amusement Company.” In September of 1916, the Theatre opened as “Nugget Theatre.” The first movie to be shown was “The Alien,” a 1915 film starring George Beban. Admission costs 10 cents. In 1922, the Theatre was donated to Hanover under the condition that all profits would go to benefit town improvements. The Theatre burned down during a 1944 explosion that resulted in a devastating fire. In 1951, the new Nugget Theatre opened at its South Main St. location, where it has been ever since.

1919—Dartmouth Co-op

The Dartmouth Co-op was founded in 1919 by a Dartmouth graduate named John Piane. In 1986, ownership of the business was transferred to a group of Dartmouth alumni. Throughout its existence, the Dartmouth Co-op has always sold Dartmouth insignia and outdoor sporting gear.

Other Longstanding Businesses of Note in the Surrounding Upper Valley

  • 1797—The Norwich Inn
  • 1809—Lyme Inn
  • 1849—Hotel Coolidge (White River Junction)
  • 1886--FH Gillingham’s (Woodstock)
  • 1891--Dan & Whit’s (Norwich)
  • 1917—Trumbull-Nelson (West Lebanon & Hanover)
  • 1920—Lebanon Opera House
  • 1925--The Yankee Bookshop (Woodstock)
  • 1936--Co-op food stores
  • 1938--Walt & Ernie’s Barber Shop (Hanover)
  • 1942--Michael’s Audio (Hanover)
  • 1942--Robert’s Flowers of Hanover
  • 1947--Lou’s Restaurant (Hanover)
  • 1947--Blood’s Seafood (White River Junction)
  • 1959—Dutille’s Jewelry Design Studio (Lebanon)
  • 1967—Gilberte Interiors (Hanover)


Howe Library:

Valley Memories: The Early Years (published by the Valley News)

Valley Memories: Volume II

Town of Hanover 1761-2011 (published by Hanover Improvement Society)

Early Dartmouth College and Downtown Hanover by Frank J. Barrett Jr.

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