New Hampshire is a pretty idyllic state, but sometimes weird things happen even here – shocking things even. From the bizarre to the harmful to the mundane, New Hampshire has had, and still has, its fair share of odd occurrences. Here are 7 shocking things that have happened or still happen in New Hampshire.
1. UNH received a $500,000 grant to run football practices without helmets.
New Hampshire colleges aren’t known as football powerhouses, but they could be setting the stage for new safety practices in the NFL. In 2014, UNH received a half a million dollar grant as part of the NFL’s Head Health Challenge. Under the program, UNH expanded its Helmetless Tackle Training (HUTT), a program that was developed by a kinesiology professor at the school. The idea is that when players don’t wear helmets they are less likely to lead tackles with their head – a common problem in football that can lead to head and neck injuries.
2. The shape of the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua was changed to keep in entirely within the state of New Hampshire – by inches!
Originally the mall was set to straddle the state line with Massachusetts. Developers planned to put all the shops on the New Hampshire side to avoid sales tax, and all the restaurants on the Massachusetts side to pay lower meals tax. However, Massachusetts declared that if any of the building existed within Massachusetts, all stores in the mall would have to pay Massachusetts sales tax. The developers quickly reworked the plans – giving the mall a funny shape – in order to provide tax-free shopping.
3. New Hampshire license plates are manufactured in state prisons.
Now, there’s nothing unique about inmates manufacturing license plates, until you consider the fact that New Hampshire’s state slogan – “live free or die” – is prominently displayed on each plate. Oh the irony.
4. And speaking of New Hampshire plates…. A man once did 15 days of jail time for covering up the “live free or die” slogan on his plate.
George Maynard appeared in Lebanon District Court in 1974 and 1975 for covering the motto on his state license plate, which he felt was contrary to his faith. The second time, he was sentenced to 15 days in jail, all of which he served. The case ultimately led to the U.S. Supreme Court hearing “Wooley vs. Maynard,” in which the court sided with Maynard, ruling that the state could not force residents to display the state motto if it was against their moral convictions.
5. A boundary dispute between New Hampshire and Maine was settled by King George of England.
Until 1977, New Hampshire and Maine disputed the boundary between the two states. In that year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the boundary using a degree that King George II of Great Britain made in 1740.
6. Drivers in New Hampshire aren’t required to wear seat belts (if they’re over 18) or to have auto insurance.
While that may seem normal to life-long residents, the rest of the national is shocked when they learn about this law.
7. Killington, Vermont residents voted to secede and become part of New Hampshire - twice.
Killington, Vermont was originally established by a New Hampshire charter in 1761. But some residents think the town – about 25 miles from the New Hampshire border – should still be part of the Granite State. In fact, in 2004 and 2005 residents voted to secede from Vermont and become part of New Hampshire because the Granite State has much better tax rates. The vote was only symbolic, as the move would have to be approved by both state’s legislatures and there is very little chance of that happening. We can't say we blame the residents for trying!