The first settlers in our area came from Madbury, New Hampshire, and they called their new settlement New Madbury. At the time of incorporation on December 4, 1800, Adams was adopted as the town name in honor of President John Adams. It remained so until 1829, when the name was changed to Jackson. While the record, official or otherwise, is unclear as to who instigated the name change, it was motivated in response to the election of President Andrew Jackson, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans. The popularity of President Jackson is reflected in that only one vote was cast for keeping Adams as the name.
In June 2021, while the name of the town remained Jackson, people in the town voted to name it in honor of Charles Jackson, a onetime state geologist, as Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, was known to be a slave owner.
In the mid-1800s, Jackson became a popular destination for artists arriving by coach to capture the scenic beauty of the area on their canvases. Others attracted by what they saw on canvas began to arrive. At first, farmers opened their doors to these visitors, and many expanded their own homes into boarding houses. Hotels were then built to accommodate visitors arriving by train, then carriage, for the summer to enjoy the mountain air, croquet, and conversation on the expansive porches.
In 1876 the covered bridge which spans the Ellis River was built by Charles Austin Broughton and his son Frank. It is often known as the "Honeymoon Bridge". Local custom has carried on a romantic tradition with many newly married couples having their photograph taken there, thus adding another memory to their special day. Jackson's Covered Bridge, of Paddleford truss construction, is one of 55 remaining in New Hampshire today.
The era of the Grand Hotels in the White Mountains ended with World War II and the advent of automobile travel, although Jackson still has two historic hotels: The Wentworth Resort and Eagle Mountain House. The splendor of this Village remains. Visitors now come year-round to enjoy the views, covered bridge, white steepled church, waterfalls, mountains, and rolling farmland. They enjoy hiking, golfing, and cross-country skiing in town. They now stay in country inns, B&B's, lodges, and sample local flavor in the restaurants.
The Jackson Historical Society was founded in 1977 with Jane Green as its first president. In 1979 the Society received 501 c(3) classification as a non-profit organization.
The original mission statement focused on raising awareness and enthusiasm in the history of Jackson by the collection, display, and care of articles of historic and educational interest. This was later updated to include a focus on 19th century White Mountain art.
Before the Society had a permanent home, monthly meetings were held with a speaker in the barn at the Christmas Farm Inn. Space was used upstairs in the old Town Hall to hold the objects and records of the Society. The first rented location was in the old post office building opposite the Red Fox Grille. This allowed the Society to accumulate records held in homes by various board members. The Society also rented space in the building next to The Thompson House Eatery, across from the gas station.
The current location of the Society is now in the old Town Hall, where it has a 25-year lease with the Town of Jackson that was signed on May 1, 2009. The board is now comprised of the following people:
Leslie Schomaker, interim president and treasurer
Dave Clark, vice president
Terry Wyman, secretary
Jackie Connors, webmaster
Warren Schomaker is president emeritus.