Strafford is a town in Strafford County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 3,991 at the 2010 census. The two main settlements in town are Center Strafford and Bow Lake Village. Once part of Barrington, Strafford was set off due to the lengthy travel required to attend town meetings. Settled prior to the Revolution, the town incorporated in 1820, taking its name from the county in which it is located. Strafford County had been organized in 1773 during the administration of Colonial Governor John Wentworth, and named in honor of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford. The Austin Academy once stood in the center of Strafford village. George Cate, a wealthy shoe manufacturer, visited the school at the request of its principal Alvin E. Thomas and was so impressed with the school that he left at his death $200,000 on the condition that his name be added to that of Mr. Austin.
After his death, the hundred-acre farm of George Washington Foss was purchased and soon a beautiful new building, designed by well-known New Hampshire architect J. Edward Richardson, sat on the hill with the name on its facade, “Austin-Cate Academy – 1903”. The property has been purchased by the state for a National Guard training center. The Foss farmhouse that was used as a dormitory burned in 1961 and was replaced with a one-story dormitory. The main building had burned in the early 1930s and was replaced with the brick building that is there now.
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