Where does Penacook actually begin, anyway?

As you can tell from this map, figuring out where Penacook is can be quite a challenge. Courtesy image
As you can tell from this map, figuring out where Penacook is can be quite a challenge. Courtesy image

For as long as we’ve been around Concord, there’s been this question looming over our heads: Where does Penacook actually begin, end, and what does it include?

So when we decided to do this field trip issue to Penacook, Canterbury and Boscawen, we knew there had to be some sort of an Insider investigation into the age-old Penacook debate.

So we started with the man at the top of the food chain in Concord, City Manager Tom Aspell – basically because there isn’t a city manager of Penacook, of course.

From what Aspell told us, there are really a few ways that people choose to define where Penacook is.

There’s the Merrimack Valley School District line, which determines what school your child goes to. Then there are the voting wards, which we found out includes both Penacook and Concord, so that really wasn’t much help.

If you drive north on Fisherville Road, which eventually becomes Village Street, there’s a “Welcome to Penacook Village” sign outside the Manor Fire Station, but that seems a little too far down the way – at least what we’ve been hearing through the ol’ grapevine.

Some people say it begins at Thirty Pines, while others believe it starts all the way down at McDonald’s on Fisherville.

And if you look closely at the map above (which can be found at penacook.org/ map/mainmap.html), you can see that we – and all of you – are probably confused for many good reasons.

We also spoke with Matt Walsh, director of redevelopment, downtown services and special projects, who tried to clear things up as best as he could, but still left us with that giant thought bubble over our heads with a question mark in it.

“It depends on who you talk to,” Walsh said.

That is certainly true.

He also spoke of the school district and voting lines, but also about conversations that were had when trying to determine where to put the aforementioned Penacook signs.

He even told us about a claim that we had never heard of before.

“Some people would say it’s not just in Concord, but it’s in Concord and Boscawen,” Walsh said.

Mind blown.

“I’m not sure the city has ever defined where Penacook begins and ends,” Walsh added. “If you ask 100 people, you’d probably get 100 different opinions.”

Insider ad rep Candace Fitzgerald, who grew up in Penacook, told us of trick-or-treating days when half of the houses in her neighborhood would be open for trick-or-treating and the others, considered Concord, would be giving out candy on another night.

Some may rely on the tax rate breakdown.

When eating lunch at Alan’s of Boscawen, a few people were having almost the exact same discussion about the definition of Penacook. Looks like we’re not the only ones in search of answers.

Author: Tim Goodwin

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