Holderness is a town located in Western New Hampshire in the Lakes region of the state. It is situated in the Southwestern part of Grafton County and encompasses a total area of 35.9 square miles, 5.4 of which is water. As of the 2010 United States Census, Holderness was home to 2,108 residents.
Thomas Shepard submitted a petition for six miles of land along the Pemigewasset River in 1751, as it was along the trade route for Abenaki Indians and local European settlers. Governor Benning Wentworth granted the petition, and incorporated the town in 1751. It was named Holderness after Robert Darcy, who was the fourth Early of Holderness. Settlement stalled, however, because of the French and Indian War, so it had to be regranted again in 1761. At the time, it was called New Holderness; the “new” was dropped from the name in 1816, after the town had grown to include more than 300 residents.
Nearly 14 percent of Holderness is made up of water. The town includes parts of the Squam River, Pemigewasset River, Merrimack River, Squam Lake, Little Squam Lake and Owl Brook. The highest point in the area lies at Mount Webster, where elevation reaches 2,076 feet above sea level. In its early years, Holderness was primarily a farming and fishing area. Now, it is mostly a resort area. It was also the filming site of “On Golden Pond,” a movie released in 1981.
Holderness is governed by an elected Board of Selectmen. The town boasts a full-time police department, a municipal fire department and municipal emergency medical services. Top employers in the area include Holderness School, Granite State Plasma Cutting, Resource Management Inc., Holderness Central School, Science Center of New Hampshire and Squam Boats.
Children in the area attend Holderness Central School for grades kindergarten through eighth. For grades nine through 12, they attend Pemi-Baker Cooperative School District, which also services the nearby towns of Ashland, Campton, Plymouth, Rumney, Thornton and Wentworth.