December 11, 2023

Cochecho Friends is bringing back the Holiday Parade to Dover. This essay by Dover resident Cindy Shattuck beautifully captures the spirit of past parades. 

I was born in 1954 in Dover, N.H., a working-class town shaped by the old cotton mills that later turned out shoes and early electrical components. There was also a tannery that cured hides for leather and provided many jobs. Life in Dover was simple and mostly uneventful back then. The people worked hard, went to school, attended church, and sometimes went to The Strand to catch a movie. We had a small but bustling downtown, complete with stores such as W.T. Grant and J.J. Newberry. But there were also many small businesses that provided clothing, housewares, and furniture. Western Auto was where you went for sporting goods and auto parts.

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus wave to the crowd at the 2015 Dover Christmas Parade.

Ora’s Candy Shop was a destination for homemade sweets, and Harvey’s Bakery was a daily stop for many to pick up maple squares or a birthday cake. The drug stores, two banks, and small neighborhood markets provided everything else we needed. I lived with my parents in an old apartment house that was originally built for mill workers.  The neighbors watched over each other’s kids as we spent hours playing outside. I still live in Dover, and though it has changed so much through the years and is now considered a city, it remains anchored by the large brick mill buildings and the Cocheco River running through the center of it. I have loved living my life here. And though there are so many memories, one of my most treasured ones is of the annual Christmas parade.


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