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Windham is an affluent suburban town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 13,592 at the 2010 census.
The area was initially home to the Pawtucket Native Americans. Scottish immigrants began to settle in the area in 1719. The region was known as “Nutfield” and included what are now the neighboring towns of Derry and Londonderry. By 1721 some of the original settlers petitioned to form a separate independent community. Governor Benning Wentworth granted this request in 1742. One published theory holds that the community's name refers to Windham, Ireland, harkening back to the petitioners' homeland. However, it has been alternatively postulated that the town was named after Sir Charles Wyndham, 2nd Earl of Egremont, a member of Parliament from 1734 to 1750, Secretary of State for the Southern Department from 1761 to 1763, and a good friend of Governor Wentworth. The town of Windham was originally a parish of Londonderry. Windham was the second town designated by Governor Benning Wentworth following the establishment of the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border. Windham was the birthplace of Samuel Dinsmoor, Governor of New Hampshire from 1831 to 1834. The first census ever taken in Windham totaled at 663 residents in the year 1790.
Historic landmarks in Windham include the Searles School, Searles Castle, the town center, and the Armstrong Memorial Building. Searles Castle is one of Windham’s most prominent landmarks. Edward F. Searles, an interior decorator and antique collector, built the castle. The architect, Henry Vaughn, modeled the castle’s architecture after the style of the Stanton Harcourt Manor in Oxon County, England. The building was completed in 1915 at a cost of over $1,250,000. The castle contains over 20 rooms and is available to the public to be rented out for functions and events. In July 1909, Mr. Searles erected a commemorative plaque honoring governor Samuel Dinsmoor "a few rods" from his birthplace on Jenny's Hill, which stands today as a designated historic landmark.
Windham is situated in Rockingham County in southeastern New Hampshire, approximately 3 miles (5 km) north of the Massachusetts border. It is accessible from Exit 3 of Interstate 93. Windham is considered a bedroom community because of its growing population (over 10,000), only about 160 commercial land parcels, and lack of public transportation. The nearest airport to Windham is Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, about 20 miles (32 km) to the north. Boston, Massachusetts, is 37 miles (60 km) to the south along Interstate 93. The landscape of Windham consists of suburban subdivisions, rural open spaces and large areas of undeveloped land.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 27.9 square miles (72 km2), of which 26.8 sq mi (69 km2) is land and 1.1 sq mi (2.8 km2) is water, comprising 3.80% of the town. The highest point is Jenny's Hill, at 505 feet (154 m) above sea level.
As of the census of 2010, there were 13,592 people, 4,724 households, and 3,773 families residing in the town. The population density was 507.2 people per square mile of land (195.9/km²). There were 5,164 housing units at an average density of 192.7 per square mile (74.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.2% White, 0.4% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.2% some other race, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.6% of the population.
There were 4,724 households, out of which 35.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 71.6% were headed by a married couple living together, 6.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.1% were non-families. 15.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.2% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.87, and the average family size was 3.25.
In the town the population was spread out with 27.9% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 18 to 24, 22.1% from 25 to 44, 33.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.8 years. For every 100 females there were 97.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.0 males.
For the period 2006-2010, the median income for a household in the town was $112,386 (in 2010 dollars) and the median income for a family was $121,452. Male full-time year-round workers had a median income of $93,588 versus $55,445 for females. The per capita income for the town was $46,071. About 0% of families and 0.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0% of those under age 18 and 3.6% of those age 65 or over.
The Windham School District currently serves over 2,800 students at the four public schools. Kindergarten through second grade students and some third grade students attend Golden Brook School. Other third grade students and fourth through fifth grade students attend Windham Center School. Windham Middle School, home of the Wildcats, is occupied by sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. Windham High School, home to the Jaguars, consists of grades nine through twelve, and opened in the fall of 2009. The class of 2012 was the first graduating class at Windham High School. Prior to the 2011-12 school year, Windham High School did not have a senior class. Prior to opening its own high school, students from Windham went to the high school in neighboring Salem, beginning in 1995. The class of 2011 was the last Windham/Salem graduating class from Salem High School. Earlier, in the 1990s and late 1980s, students attended Pinkerton Academy in Derry.
Windham is part of the School Administrative Unit 28, consisting of the school districts of Windham and the neighboring town, Pelham. Beginning July 1, 2013, Windham and Pelham will split, with each town having its own school administrative unit. The Windham School District will become New Hampshire SAU #95.
Windham High School's biology teacher, Bethany Bernasconi, was voted New Hampshire's teacher of the year for 2012.
Windham includes a variety of local attractions such as municipal parks, golf courses, tennis courts, bowling facilities, youth recreation programs, fishing, hunting, boating, snowmobile transits, bike trails, and waterfront access. The Windham Country Club golf course is an 18-hole premier course voted four stars by GolfDigest. Men's leagues, women's leagues, and youth leagues are offered at the course. Griffin Park, built in 2005, offers three baseball fields, a soccer field, tennis and basketball courts, and a playground. Windham's town beach is located on Cobbetts Pond. Lifeguards are on duty from mid-June to Labor Day. Swimming lessons are available every summer. An open boat launch is available to Windham residents next to the town beach. The Windham Rail Trail, which extends from Windham into Derry, is 4.1 miles (6.6 km) of level, paved trail for walking/biking. Windham’s Recreation Athletic youth programs include football and cheerleading, baseball, tennis, lacrosse, basketball, and soccer.
The Nesmith Library is Windham's public library. Each June Friends of the Library of Windham (FLOW) host Windham’s annual Strawberry Festival. The festival hosts local food businesses around Windham such as The Gourmet Grill, Glenn’s Kreme and Cone, and The Village Bean. Residents of Windham take part in the annual three to five-mile walk known as the Turkey Trot. It takes place every year on Thanksgiving morning through the neighborhoods of Windham and raises money for the local Shepherd's Food Pantry. The Strawberry Festival was moved to Windham High School in 2009 due to the overcrowding at the library in previous years.
The Windham Fire Department is a full-time, 24-hour department. In addition to providing emergency services, the department also works closely with community organizations on fire prevention units in the school district, and CPR and first aid classes. The Windham Police Department is a full-time department staffed by seventeen personnel, including the chief, captain, four sergeants, two detectives, and eight patrol officers. Internal assignments include a Traffic and Community Resource Officer. Resource officers are placed at the Middle School and High School. The department also has on staff a full-time prosecutor, a part-time records clerk and full-time department secretary. Both the fire and police department are located in the center of Windham across from the Windham Town Hall. The nearest hospital is Parkland Medical Center, 5 miles (8.0 km) away in Derry.
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