There are two kinds of people: the ones who say “Wind-ham” and the ones who pronounce it “Wind-dum.’’ “I say Wind-ham — because it’s right,” said Brad Dinsmore, a local realtor, and he should know. His family has lived here since 1721, and he’s lived here all his life.
Dinsmore has written a column on the town’s history for the local paper for a long time, and last year he started a blog at windhamnhhistory.org. He also owns Prudential Dinsmore Associates and has been selling real estate since 1978. He said it’s not hard to sell people on the town, in large part because of its location. Interstate 93 runs right through town, and I-495 is a short drive away. “We’re very close to Boston — it’s quicker and easier to get into the city than it is from many places on the North Shore. Location is really the draw.” Plus, he said, while there’s been a great increase in housing development since the 1980s, “the town’s done a good job retaining open space.”
Maybe that’s why so many people who grew up in Windham are returning to buy homes and raise families here. Dinsmore said he’s been seeing a lot of that in recent years, home buyers telling him, “You know, I grew up in this neighborhood.”
Windham is an affluent community. According to NH Employment Security, the median family income was $127,868 in 2014. That’s among the highest in the state. The median home value is $357,900, which reflects a 5.8 percent jump in the past year, according to Zillow.com. The 2015 tax rate was $21.72 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Ask Dinsmore to name something he doesn’t like about the town and he struggles. OK, well, maybe all the construction with the widening of I-93, he conceded at last.
Also, maybe he didn’t love the spinning plate, which he said he wasn’t the only one to see. There are a couple of places in town believed to be haunted, and one of them is The Windham Restaurant, where Dinsmore once held an office party. “And all of a sudden a plate started spinning around on the table. It really freaked me out.”
The number of submissions in the 2003 contest that challenged residents to come up with a town slogan. The winner was Robert Costa’s entry: “Old values — new horizons.”
Voter turnout for the state presidential primary on Feb. 9. Of the 6,453 votes cast, Donald Trump collected 1,777, and Hillary Clinton won on the Democratic side with 1,049. The town swayed heavily Republican, with 4,359 GOP votes cast and 2,094 Democratic.
The town’s population in 1790, the first year the census was taken. The count was 13,943 in 2014.
Windham is desirable for its proximity to Boston (37 miles away via Interstate 93), beaches (Hampton Beach is 36 miles away via I-93 and I-495), the Lakes Region (Meredith on Lake Winnipesaukee is 75 miles to the north), and mountains (Mount Washington is 150 miles away). And Canobie Lake Park — so much fun and good employment for Windham teenagers — is just minutes away in Salem, N.H.
A housing boom has led to a classroom shortage. The third-graders are split up, with some at the Center School, where the fourth and fifth grades are, and the rest at the high school. On March 8, voters rejected a $38.95 million expansion to the elementary and middle schools. Back to the drawing board.