In 1821, the experimental cotton textile manufacturing township of Lowell, Massachusetts was planned and launched just 10 miles down river on the Merrimack. Boston investors, the Middlesex Canal, the mighty Pawtucket Falls, and the driving patriotic desire to attain economic independence from England by advancing domestic manufacturers resulted in the establishment of the American Industrial Revolution.
Daniel Abbot, the Greeley brothers, Jesse Bowers, Timothy Tyler, and other commercial and government leaders witnessed the extraordinary founding of this new industrial city just down the river. Between 1803 and 1823, they prospered for some 20 years by the commercial-mercantile activity. The "Nashua Village" at Dunstable took advantage of the Middlesex Canal, the Great Boston Road, and materials to build massive cotton textile mills. They saw the advantage of locating a new town on the relatively flat land plain between Salmon Brook and the Nashua River, the labor pool from the surrounding farms of New Hampshire and most importantly the massive power source of Mine Falls. Ultimately, they hired John Lund to survey the land. They, as quietly as possible, acquired massive tracts of land between Mine Falls and the Great Road, down to the mouth of the Nashua River, and chartered the Nashua Manufacturing Company in 1823.
Between 1823 and 1836, Nashua Village at Dunstable, New Hampshire was a "port-township." A canal was built to connect the village with the Merrimack River and boats brought raw cotton and mercantile goods up from Boston Harbor, and transported the finished textile goods back down the Merrimack River and Middlesex Canal. The steamboat "Herald" plied the waters between Lowell and Nashua in these early days.
In 1836, Nashua Village once again demonstrated its revolutionary character as New Hampshire’s first railroad, The Nashua & Lowell – Railroad was chartered. The first locomotive engine ever seen in New Hampshire was in Union Square, Nashua Village in October 1838. It was described by eyewitnesses as a "super-natural wonder." Union Square was enthusiastically renamed Railroad Square. This infrastructure supported a thriving industrial city – one which would continue to grow and thrive for another 100 years. In December of 1836 the new industrial culture was firmly advanced by officially adopting the community name as the "Town of Nashua, New Hampshire."