is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 16,929 at the 2000 census. Goffstown includes the villages of Grasmere and Pinardville. The town is home to Saint Anselm College and the New Hampshire State Prison for Women.
The town was first granted as "Narragansett No. 4" in 1734 by Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher of Massachusetts, which then held authority over New Hampshire. It was one of seven townships intended for soldiers (or their heirs) who had fought in the "Narragansett War" of 1675, also known as King Philip's War. In 1735, however, some grantees "found it so poor and barren as to be altogether incapable of making settlements," and were instead granted a tract in Greenwich, Massachusetts.
The community would be called "Piscataquog Village" and "Shovestown" before being regranted by Governor Benning Wentworth in 1748 to new settlers, including Colonel John Goffe, for whom the town was named. In 1761, Goffstown was incorporated. The village of Grasmere was named for Grasmere, England, home of poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Grasmere Village formerly was the site of the County Hospital, County Farm (penal institution) and Poorhouse; the County Farm grounds were converted to the New Hampshire State Prison for Women (located at 317 Mast Road). The facility's most famous resident was convicted murderess Pamela Smart, who was incarcerated at the Prison for Women from March 22, 1991 to March 11, 1993, when she was transferred to Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford, New York.
The Piscataquog River, which bisects the main village of Goffstown and was spanned by a covered bridge, provided water power for industry. In 1817, Goffstown had 20 sawmills, 7 grain mills, 2 textile mills, 2 carding machines and a cotton factory. Islands in the Merrimack River would be annexed in 1825, as was part of New Boston in 1836.
The Uncanoonuc Mountains in Goffstown once featured the Uncanoonuc Incline Railway, founded in 1903. It first carried tourists in 1907 to the summit of the south peak, on which was built that year the Uncanoonuc Hotel. The 5½ story building provided 37-38 guest rooms, and a dining room that accommodated 120. It also offered outstanding views of the surrounding valley, including Manchester, connected by electric trolley to the railway's base station. The hotel would burn in 1923, and the train was later used to transport skiers to the top. The railway peaked during the 1930s and 1940s, but was essentially abandoned by the 1950s. The old rail bed is today a hiking trail.