nH 1900 - 1950
An enthusiastic bunch organizing the semi-centennial celebration marked the beginning of the 20th century. Records and recollections show city spirit enthusiastically displayed in both speeches and participation. There was a satisfaction in retrospect of the previous 50 years of Nashua progress.

Some statistics from 1900 include the population at 23,898; The Nashua Trust Bank opening in the Masonic Temple Building; The Library having 20,000 books to borrow and a circulation of 62,000 per year.

In 1902, Electric Railways linked Nashua to Salem and Nashua to Haverhill, Massachusetts. Tourists, citizens and businessmen rode the trolley across the old Taylors Falls Bridge fortified with iron and tracks. Canobie Lake Park opened in Salem providing Nashuans a pleasant retreat and a scenic tour to the park. The whole trip took about 60 minutes and was very popular.

In 1903, the International Paper Box Machine Company began. In 1904 Nashua Corporation, previously known as Nashua Gummed and Coated Paper Company began. Both companies are still in business today with original revolutionary patents of interest such as the first box folding machine and the first bread-wrapping machine.

The Nashua Street Railway expanded in 1907 connecting Hudson to Manchester. This new line created an all rail trip between Boston and Concord. An interesting note was you could make the 6 1/2 hour one-way trip for US$1.05. Three years later, the travel enthusiasts of Nashua would wane from the trolleys to their new love, the newly introduced automobile.

Jackson Mills was established in 1828 on Canal Street and started production of 'Nashua Woolnap Blankets'. Nashua Manufacturing would purchase their property, franchises, and trademarks along with other mills in Massachusetts and Alabama, and extend trade agreements throughout the world including major routes in China and Africa.

Healthcare reached a pinnacle point in 1908 when completion of Saint Joseph Hospital, the first large-scale facility opened and received its dedication. Supporters included Saint Louis De Gonzague Church that provided the land, along with donations from the Nashua Manufacturing Company and many other local contributors. Monsignor Jean-Baptist Henri Victor Milette, Pastor of Saint Louis, invited the Sisters of Charity, the Grey Nuns of Montreal, to administer the staff at the Hospital. There, they would also run what is still known as one of the best schools in nursing. In the next decade, they would expand the facility to include the medical advancement technologies of pathological laboratories and x-ray facilities.

See photos of Saint Joseph Hospital

The still present and quite commercialized Daniel Webster Highway opened on May 16, 1922. A great ceremony included the unveiling of two historic granite markers found at the south end on either side of the road.

See the Marker

The J.F. McElwain Company found its way to Nashua in 1923 from Boston. During its first year of production an estimated 5.5 million pairs of shoes hit the market. Another jewel in the crown of Nashua's Heritage is the great Indian Head Bank building that stands on the corner of East Pearl and Main Street, built in 1923.

In the late 1920's, civic growth gained momentum after receiving quite a substantial amount of government funding. Nashua Business's found their home with the newly formed Chamber of Commerce, 1926; and a New City Hall, built in 1939.

Nashua, like other cities throughout the US, saw dramatic changes when the stock market collapsed on October 29, 1929. Sixteen million shares and 35 billion US dollars were lost from the United States economy. Adding to the impoverish conditions that followed, Nashua suffered with three natural disasters. A fire blaze out of control burning almost 400 homes in 1930, a flood of over 12 feet in some areas in 1936, and a severe hurricane causing damages of an estimated half million dollars in 1938. During this difficult time, church, city, state and government aid, help rebuild the city and its neighborhoods, including an addition to City Hall for Nashua's growing Police Department.

With the announcement of war in Europe in 1939, Industry began to regain financial strength preparing wartime supplies. By 1940, unemployment was cut by 50%. In 1941, virtually everyone that wanted a job had one. There were shortages however; rations on sugar, gasoline, and fuel oil made it difficult for all residents of Nashua. In 1943, can goods and butter almost disappeared and meat cases were empty. 'Victory Gardens' were a common sight as people grew their own vegetables to help lessen the food shortage.

See photo of my grandfather, veteran of WWII

At least 13% of Nashuans served in WWII before the peace treaty signing on September 2, 1945.

There are listings of many foreigners moving into Nashua following the war. Many war brides returned with their soldiers, still others migrated from foreign lands in search of US freedom. The biggest group to immigrate was from Canada. French Canadians were listed as 45% of the population in 1945. By 1950, Nashua population now included French, Irish, Polish, Jewish, Greek, Armenian, Rumanian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Albanian and Russian heritage. Nashua's own melting pot!

Some well know citizens from some of the imported cultures include Bishop George A. Guertin, Superior Court Judge Henri A. Burque, Mayor Alvin Lussier and Poet Leo Levesque, all Franco-American; the Nash's, descendants of Romania, and other cultural benefactors not yet listed.

Continue to nH 1950 - 1980