History & Museums

Keene was known as The Upper Ashuelot in 1735 when it was originally granted as a fort town to protect the Province of Massachusetts Bay from Indians. However it wasn’t long before the settlement was abandoned in the wake of an Indian attack. Colonists resettled the area in the 1750’s and by 1753 it was renamed Keene by Governor Benning Wentworth after Sir Benjamin Keene, an English minister to Spain and West Indies trader. Keene was incorporated as a city in 1874 and at that time was a lively manufacturing center producing items such as wooden pails, pottery, and glass. A fascinating look at Keene’s history can be found at the following museums: