Barnstead is a town located in Central New Hampshire. It is part of Belknap County and, as of the 2010 U.S. Census, is home to 4,593 people. It includes several villages, including Center Barnstead, North Barnstead, Barnstead Parade and South Barnstead, and encompasses a total area of 44 square miles.
The town was originally granted to Reverend Joseph Adams in 1727 by Governor William Dummer. In 1767, the area was settled and incorporated as a town by then-governor John Wentworth. Most early settlers hailed from Hempstead, New York, or Barnstable, Massachusetts, which led to the name Barnstead. Over the years, Barnstead has been home to much farming and manufacturing; in 1859, the town housed a wool factory, four shingle mills, four clapboard mills, seven sawmills, two tanneries and a lumber yard.
Now, Barnstead is more of a residential area, though it boasts expansive woodlands, lakes and agricultural fields. These areas lend themselves to many year-round activities, including hiking, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing and snowmobiling. The area is home to several bodies of water, including the Upper Suncook Lake, Lower Suncook Lake, Suncook River, Half Moon Lake, Locke Lake and Merrimack River. Barnstead?s neighboring towns include Gilmanton, Strafford, Pittsfield and Alton, and bigger cities like Concord, Laconia, Rochester and Portsmouth, as well as the White Mountain range, are just an hour or less away.
Barnstead is governed by an elected Board of Selectmen, which currently includes Dave Kerr, Bob LaRoche, Priscilla Tiede, Francis Vardaro and Jim Barnard. The town has its own full-time police department, as well as municipal fire and emergency medical services departments. Children in the area attend Barnstead Elementary School for preschool through eighth grade. For high school, they attend Alton School District’s Prospect Mountain High School, which is located just eight miles away in the nearby town of Alton.