Canaan is a town located in Western New Hampshire in the Dartmouth/Sunapee region of the state. It is situated in the Southern part of Grafton County and encompasses a total area of 55 square miles, 1.8 of which is water. As of the 2010 United States Census, Canaan was home to 3,909 people.
The land that comprises Canaan was first chartered and incorporated as a town in 1761 by Governor Benning Wentworth. It gleans it name from the Connecticut town of the same moniker. Settlement of the area began in 1766 and, in its early years, mills flourished, thanks to the water power from nearby lakes and rivers. In 1847, the Northern Railroad was built in the town, leading to further development.
More than 3 percent of Canaan’s total area is made up of water. The town is home to the Indian River, Mascoma River, Goose Pond, Derby Pond and Canaan Street Lake, and it lies within both the Connecticut and Merrimack River watershed. The area is served by U.S. Route 4, Interstate 89 and New Hampshire Route 118. Over the years, the town has been home to a number of notable people, including U.S. Congressmen Daniel Blaisdell, Henry G. Burleigh and Frank Dunklee Currier.
Canaan is governed by an elected Board of Selectmen. The town boasts a full-time police department, a volunteer fire department and volunteer emergency medical services. Top employers in the area include Cardigan School, Barket Steel, CLE, Mitchell Paddles Inc., Town of Canaan and Mascoma Regional School District. Children in the area attend schools in the Mascoma Valley Regional School District, which also serves the nearby towns of Dorchester, Enfield, Grafton and Orange.
For entertainment and recreation, Canaan residents can enjoy the town’s municipal parks, museums, youth organizations, sports leagues, campgrounds, fishing and hunting areas, boating marinas, snowmobile trails, bicycle trails, cross country skiing opportunities and local waterfront areas.