New Hampshire is known for its charming small towns but some places are really, really small. Our listener Samer Kalaf wondered: just how small does it get?
For the latest installment in our Only in New Hampshire series, we investigate Samer Kalaf's question:
What is the smallest hamlet in the state by population?
It's a simple answer... until you start checking definitions. The problem here is the word "hamlet".
Ken Gallager at the New Hampshire Office of Strategic Initiatives told us that, in fact, "hamlet" is not a legal term.
Classifying places is really complicated. There are towns, cities, and unincorporated places, such as townships or grants, or villages that sometimes fall within towns.
The Census Bureau classifies towns and townships as “minor civil divisions.” They also have something called the Census Designated Place which is a concentration of people but not a legal boundary.
Based on this, the smallest place that the Census tracks in New Hampshire is Blodgett Landing, population 101.
But if you're looking for the smallest town by area, that’s Union - it's a sum total of 0.3 square miles. But they pack 204 people on that land - "pack" being a relative term, of course.
So depending on how you slice it, the smallest hamlet is Hart’s Location, Blodgett Landing, and Union...I probably should have stuck with your original answer.
But if you're a West Wing fan, definitely go with Hart's Location. It made the show because Hart's Location, along with another Dixville Notch, gets a lot of national attention every four years for casting the first votes in the New Hampshire primary.
Do you have a question about some quirk of New Hampshire or your community? Submit it at our Only in NH project page right here, and we could be in touch for a future story.