Town Center, Londonderry Town Common

Now and forever?

Last months story “Where is Londonderry Town Center” 80% that took our Londonderry poll voted that it was the existing Londonderry Town Common.  Our most recent poll asked where will it be once Woodmont Commons is built.  The leader of DPZ Andres Duany said several times in the design charette that “the new town center will be in this village” that is just the way it works with planned village concepts, “we just don’t know exactly where it will be.”

Proposed Town Common at Woodmont, Londonderry, NHOur poll over the last week only 23% agree, it will be in the new city of Woodmont Commons.  The rest just continue to hold onto the tradition of our historic town common will remain at Mammoth and Pillsbury.  As community members gathered last weekend for Santa and the tree lighting, next weekend for the laying of the Blue Star mothers Wreath of Remembrance they feel forever, the place to gather is around the soldiers Monument and bandstand.

The Village of East Derry, click for a larger image

Londonderry town center was once in what today is East Derry around the First Parish church.  When the towns split a new meeting house was needed in the farmland of Londonderry sparking the construction of the Londonderry Presbyterian Church.  The civil war monument firmed up the place to gather just as photography was invented.  The bandstand drove the “center of town stake” further into the ground at the Bicentennial Old Home Day celebration.

Back in Derry as the industrial age arrived and rail came through town, for them the center of activities moved from East Derry to “Derry Depot” home of transportation, factories and workforce housing for those in the shoe industry.  While not “town center” it was the center of the action and a stop on the way to North Londonderry, Manchester and beyond.

Is it just a matter of time, will the unstoppable forces of commerce and development make the selection of “Town Center” for Londonderry?  Or will it be a selection made by those that live here?

When Woodmont Commons is built Where will Town Center be?

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  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Martin Srugis

    I think it is very arrogant of Andres Duany to dismiss the current town center. He seems to think this new construction (over 20 years) will draw people away from the center. How will he accomplish this?
    With high end stores? Another town green area?
    Or will we (as a town) begin to move several events (that occur in our present center) to “his” town center?
    A lot will depend on future town officals and residents of the town. But I have faith in our fellow townspeople that we will view Woodmont not as a center of town but just another shopping area to visit.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1George Herrmann

      Martin, I too have faith that our neighbors will continue to keep the traditional town center. Where the fabric of our community is sewn. Just a stones throw from the fields where the militia mustered before heading to win our freedom. The land on which our churches are built. The place where veterans of the Civil War erected a monument to those that fought to preserve our Union. The place where for 111 years we have been welcoming each other home on a day in August. The location of the Central School (now Matthew Thornton), our High School and our Middle School. Our town and school offices. The place where each year we gather to remember and to thank those that have served in our military and those that have died to protect our way of life. The place where we can drift away on the music of a summer evening concert. Where our children and grandchildren can come and decorate Christmas Trees, the place where we still proudly display our own faith and respect the faith of our neighbors.
      Our Town Center has grown strong over the last 288 years. So like you I am confident that no matter what anyone builds the Town Center will always remain the Heart of Londonderry.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Martin Srugis

        Well said George.

        1. Vote -1 Vote +1Kathy Wagner


          You said we were all getting old last night and we wouldn’t be driving anymore by the time this project gets built. I thought that was funny.

          Wanted to share something with you. I spoke in front of two civics classes in November. The topic was Woodmont. It was very eye opening. One class was not sure if the project was a good thing. The other class was against it. One class wanted the lake the other wanted the swamp. I encouraged all of these kids to go to the planning board and speak up as it is being sold as their project.

          In a nutshell. I was surprise how many of the kids don’t really care if Woodmontville is built or not built. Most said they couldn’t wait to get out of here. That is a problem throughout NH. I am sure some of it is parroting. I just found it interesting.

          1. Vote -1 Vote +1Jeff Hale

            I think they people developing Woodmont have a pretty keen sense of what the next generation is looking for in their decision on where to live. It’s not those of us “middle age” or older this is designed to appeal to. The so called Gen Y’ers are not looking for a bug suburban house with a giant yard to maintain, at least not starting out. There are some pretty good articles published on this. To quote one of them (with the link below), “While the jobs come first, this generation is also looking for a good quality of life, which means to them, among other things, housing that is affordable, attractive, and located in walkable neighborhoods near jobs, services, and amenities.” Sounds to me exactly what is planned for Woodmont!


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