Keene was incorporated as a town 1753 and as a city 1874. Named for the English diplomat Sir Benjamin Keene, the city is a thriving center for education, employment, and entertainment. Businesses located in Keene range from one-of-a-kind boutiques to corporations that are world leaders in technological advancement. There are no state income or sales taxes. Keene is located an hour and a half from Hartford, two hours from Boston or Providence, and four hours from New York or Montreal. The city is also well known as a stopover for presidential candidates touring the region during the all-important New England primaries.
Keene is a picturesque New England town, from the quaint churches and neatly kept farms to the covered bridges and water mills. Nearby 3600-foot Mount Monadnock is the second most climbed mountain in the world. Those who complete the climb are rewarded at the summit with a spectacular view of the Boston skyline. Winter and summer resort areas are located around Mount Monadnock. 46-acre Ashuelot River Park has gardens, wooded areas, and paths for biking, walking and jogging along the river. There are many lakes in the area, and the Chesterfield Gorge is breathtaking in its rugged splendor.
Seasons in Keene are distinct and beautiful. The turning of the leaves in fall is an annual New England highlight, and Keene sees its share of visitors who come to view the spectacular foliage. Another famous fall attraction is the Keene Pumpkin Festival. This nationally recognized event has held several Guinness World Records for most jack-o-lanterns in one place and features towers of pumpkins as well as hayrides, trick-or-treating, fireworks and, of course, pumpkin carving. Children of all ages look forward to the snow for sledding, skiing, and snowball fights. Spring promises renewal with budding trees and bright flowers. Summer brings idyllic days of lazy afternoons, swimming, fishing, drinking lemonade and catching fireflies.
Keene has many architectural attractions to complement its beautiful geographic features. The United Church of Christ was built in 1786-1788 and is on the National Register of Historic Buildings. Colony Block, built in 1870 in Second Empire Victorian style, now houses a thriving commercial district. It too is on the National Register. Two Arch Stone Bridge (1840) is a dry-laid structure (no mortar was used) that retains its shape because of the pressure of the arches. Two fine examples of the Georgian style can be found in the Horatio Colony House Museum (1806) and Wyman Tavern (1762). The museum was the home of the grandson of the first mayor of Keene and houses the artwork collected by Horatio Colony on his world travels. The tavern was the meeting point of the patriots on their march to Lexington. The Cheshire County Archives are housed in an Italianate brick mansion dating to 1870.
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