Depot Street is Peterborough's connection to the:
- local stores that make Peterborough a shopping destination (12, 14, 16, 18, 20)
- Australian muralist, Rodney Monk (12)
- Contoocook River, one of the few in NH that flows north (Depot Park)
- railroad heritage of Our Town (14)
Depot Square sits at the confluence of the Contoocook River and Nubanusit Brook. The earliest town center in Peterborough was up on the hill, just across the Contoocook to the east. But soon the advantages of the river valley influenced the establishment of business and industry in the current downtown location.
The first buildings in what is now Depot Square were an odd assortment of sheds and workshops. In 1844 the school district purchased some of the land and built a large (three-room) schoolhouse, which sat approximately where Ten School Street (Alice Blue and C'est La Vie!) is today.
At that time, School Street was laid out, which provided easier access for other enterprises. The railroad came to town in 1861, and with it, the depot and Depot Street, connecting Main Street to School Street, was established. The school closed in 1888, when the town built a new central school on Vine Street. This building was converted to a lumber storage facility, and was eventually purchased and moved elsewhere.
The railroad had a huge impact on the town. Local businesses were able to receive and ship goods quickly, and passengers could easily come into town for work, errands, and entertainment. The original depot was located approximately where the Toadstool Bookshop is today. The current building was constructed in 1961 and was originally an A&P grocery store.
The train tracks crossed the Nubanusit just at the edge of the Contoocook River. Today the remains of the supporting pillars can be seen from Depot Park.
Above, the row of buildings along the Nubanusit, sometime in the early 1940’s. These buildings served a variety of purposes, including being the home of Monadnock Lumber from 1957 until 1982. Today these buildings are nicely renovated into an array of interesting shops.