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Town of Rollinsford
State: NH
County: Strafford


Cocheco River Watershed

Twombly Brook crosses into Rollinsford from Somersworth, in an area of emergent wetland, east of Clement Road. The brook flows past several homes along this road as it moves south. It crosses a small farm field and then passes under Rollins Road and the Boston and Maine Railroad tracks. Twombly Brook flows into large forested area, where it joins Fresh Creek.

Rollins Brook flows out of a marsh along Rollinsfordís border with Dover, north of Rollins Road. It flows around a large hay field, and passes under Rollins Road just north of the Wentworth Greenhouse facility. The brook crosses the Boston and Maine Railroad tracks and flows south for a half mile, until it joins Fresh Creek.

Fresh Creek begins in a marsh, near a junk car lot on Somersworth Road. The creek crosses Somersworth Road and the New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad tracks, and then passes through a field in an artificially straightened channel. It crosses Rollins Road and flows past several homes, as it runs parallel to the railroad tracks. Fresh Creek then passes through a culvert under the tracks, and flows between several large farm fields, before passing into a mile long stretch of forest. It passes a farm on Portland Avenue, then crosses under the road and turns east. The creek then passes through a culvert under Old Mill Lane and forms a pond behind a causeway on Gulf Road in Dover. This pond is bordered by a large field along Baer Road. Fresh Creek passes into Dover and then joins the Cocheco River.

Salmon Falls River Watershed

Garvin Brook begins near a farm on Sligo Road. It flows south along the border of this farm and forms a small pond at a dam near Rollinsfordís border with Dover. The brook passes this dam into Dover, on its way to join the Salmon Falls River.

The Salmon Falls River forms Rollinsfordís eastern border with Maine. It flows in from Somersworth, in a relatively undeveloped area of forest. It backs up behind the Rollinsford Dam, at the Boston and Maine Railroad bridge in downtown Rollinsford. The river then forms a series of rapids as it passes the mill buildings and the Rollinsford Sewage Treatment Plant. The river forms another reservoir where it meets a dam at Portland Avenue. The shoreline of the Salmon Falls River becomes fairly undeveloped as it passes mostly forest and farms on its way south. It passes one small subdivision on River Road and then crosses into Dover.

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Water District: Rollinsford Water District
District Website: (603) 742-2510 (town hall)
Water Source: groundwater
# Accts Serv: 2648 pop.
Other Towns: none
Sewer District: Rollinsford Sewer District
District Website: none
Receiving Waters: Salmon Falls River
# Accts Serv: 2648 pop.
Other Towns: none

Population:2632 (U.S. Census Est. 2006)
Area:7.3 square miles


Rollinsford is a small community on the Salmon Falls River. The mill buildings have survived and have been used by a diverse array of other businesses in the decades since. Today, the town's character is reflected in its history, enriched by a great number of houses of architectural significance, many in rural settings, and a largely intact 19th century mill village. According to census estimates the 2006 population was 2,632 residents. The town is projected to gain another 238 residents by 2015.

Rollinsford is primarily a residential town sandwiched between the more urban centers of Dover, Somersworth, and South Berwick, Maine. The town has retained its agricultural characteristics and open space makes of a large percentage of the landscape.

As of 2007, Rollinsford had 1,833 acres in current use tax status. This includes 1,104 acres of farmland and 682 acres of forest. However, this designation does not provide permanent protection and development incentives may decrease these numbers in the future.

Rollinsford has several large parcels of conservation land including the Town Forest and Scout Land along the Salmon Falls River in the north of town. In addition, several large privately held easements exist including the Aikman and Ordway Parcels held by the Strafford Rivers Conservancy, which total 272 acres in the south of town, as well as the Brookford Farm, which has 270 acres pasture land, and another 130 acres of forest.

Recreation on Rollinsfordís water bodies includes boat access and fishing on the Salmon Falls River, below the hydro-electric dam.


The area was once within the domain of the Newichawannock Indians, an Abenaki sub-tribe which took its name from the Newichawannock River, meaning "river with many falls," now the Salmon Falls River. Their village was located at what is today Salmon Falls Village. They fished at the falls, stretching nets across the river to catch migrating salmon and other species swimming upriver to spawn. But war and disease, probably smallpox brought from abroad, would decimate the native population.

Settled by about 1630, the land was part of Dover, one of the original townships of New Hampshire. Early settlers formed small communities near along the Salmon Falls River and built sawmills and gristmills, which were the early industries of the town.

During the early 1820s, construction of the textile mills at the larger waterfalls led to the development of the villages of Salmon Falls and Great Falls. A shift in the center of the population from Salmon Falls to Great Falls led to the town being incorporated from Somersworth in 1849.

The mill town was deliberately laid out in an easy-to-navigate grid plan and made of brick to withstand fires. In 1822 the Salmon Falls Manufacturing Company was incorporated and began manufacturing woolen cloth. The town thrived into the first decades of the 20th century and eventually became home to many immigrant families whose forebears came to work in the mills.

The mill industry began to decline in the early 1900ís but the mill buildings started to be reclaimed for use in the 1980ís and 90ís as commercial and residential space.

The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm, Wells, Maine Copyright 2006 All rights reserved. Collaboration with NOAA CSC, Charleston SC