Salem is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 28,776 at the 2010 census. Being located on Interstate 93 as the first town in New Hampshire, which lacks any state sales tax, Salem has grown into a commercial hub, anchored by the Mall at Rockingham Park. Other major sites include Canobie Lake Park, a large amusement park; and America’s Stonehenge, a stone structure of disputed origins. It is the former home of Rockingham Park, a horse racetrack. The Sununu political family hails from Salem, including former New Hampshire governor and White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu, and his sons John E. Sununu, a former U.S. senator, and Chris Sununu, current New Hampshire governor.
The area was first settled in 1652. As early as 1736, Salem was the “North Parish” of Methuen, Massachusetts, or “Methuen District”. In 1741, when the boundary line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire was fixed, the “North Parish” became part of New Hampshire, and was given the name “Salem”, taken from nearby Salem, Massachusetts. The town was incorporated in 1750 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth. The meetinghouse of the old north parish, erected in 1738, still stands, eventually becoming the town hall of Salem before it was turned into the Salem Historical Society museum.In 1902, Canobie Lake Park was established in Salem by the Massachusetts Northeast Street Railway Company, to encourage leisure excursions on its trolleys.
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