Epping, New Hampshire
Epping is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 6,411 at the 2010 census.
The primary settlement in town, where 1,681 people resided at the 2010 census, is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as the Epping census-designated place (CDP) and includes the densely populated portion of the town centered on New Hampshire Route 27 just west of New Hampshire Route 125.
Epping was originally part of Exeter, one of the four original New Hampshire townships. Starting in 1710, Exeter awarded free wood lots in the area to encourage settlement. In 1741, Epping was granted a charter and incorporated as a town. It was the last New Hampshire town chartered by Governor Jonathan Belcher before the Province of New Hampshire was granted a governor who did not also govern the neighboring Province of Massachusetts Bay. Epping was named for Epping in England.
Through the 1800s, farming was a principal occupation in Epping. The town also had substantial reserves of clay, long used by local residents to make bricks, and in 1840, the first commercial brickyard was established in Epping.
The village once known as East Epping gave birth in 1863 to a United Methodist camp called Camp Hedding. Hedding CMA (Camp Meeting Association) hosted Methodist revivals. Hedding became the name of a post office and railroad station in 1896 and the place name appears on road signs.
Epping was once an important junction of the Worcester, Nashua & Rochester Railroad and the Portsmouth & Concord Railroad, later both part of the Boston & Maine Railroad. The north-south WN&R line through town was abandoned in 1932, with a short segment remaining in place south to Fremont to serve a lumber yard and barrel manufacturer located there. This left the east-west Portsmouth Branch between Manchester and Portsmouth as Epping’s only access to the national rail network.
Passenger service on the Portsmouth Branch ceased in 1954, although mixed-train service continued until 1960. A regular freight running from Concord to Portsmouth and return served Epping until 1972, after which a local freight out of Concord served the branch as needed, usually once or twice a week and often not passing beyond Epping where the last concentration of customers was located. Customers in Epping at this time included the Merrimack Farmers Exchange and the W.S. Goodrich brickyard. Occasional hi-and-wide freight movements operated over the Portsmouth Branch in the 1970s due to the lack of close clearance points, with several carrying materials destined to the under-construction Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant. Declining track conditions led to the B&M embargoing the branch in December 1979, with the last trains operating to Epping earlier that year and the final train to Raymond following in July 1980 despite the embargo. The Boston & Maine abandoned the track from East Manchester to Newfields in 1982, and the rail was removed in Epping between 1983 and 1985. The railroad beds are now the Rockingham Recreational Trail. Abutments for the WN&R bridge over the Lamprey River can be seen to the west of Route 125.
As of the census of 2010, there were 6,411 people, 2,466 households, and 1,768 families residing in the town. There were 2,723 housing units, of which 257, or 9.4%, were vacant. The racial makeup of the town was 96.2% white, 0.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.03% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.3% some other race, and 1.6% from two or more races. 1.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 2,466 households, 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.5% were headed by married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.3% were non-families. 20.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.5% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60, and the average family size was 2.99.
In the town, 22.8% of the population were under the age of 18, 7.6% were from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 30.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.2 males.
For the period 2011-2015, the estimated median annual income for a household was $77,750, and the median income for a family was $86,886. Male full-time workers had a median income of $66,330 versus $47,538 for females. The per capita income for the town was $34,982. 6.3% of the population and 3.3% of families were below the poverty line. 12.1% of the population under the age of 18 and 1.5% of those 65 or older were living in poverty.