In the early 1800's several textile mills were built in the vicinity of the falls on the Contoocook River in Hillsborough to take advantage of the favorable water power. The area, previously a crossroads and river crossing, was known as "Hillsborough Bridge" or "Bridge Village". With the advent of the mills other businesses and residential development soon followed and Bridge Village became the center of economic activity and social life in Hillsborough and the surrounding towns, overshadowing the original "Hillsborough Center", a few miles up the road.
Bridge Village began as a stone bridge spanning the Contoocook River, and grew up around the mills that harnessed the river's might. New Hampshire's third textile mill began producing cotton yarn here in 1811. Stores, churches, and houses were built. Mill workers' homes spilled from the riverfront, as shops, music halls, and the railroad with it's nearby depot made the town an economic center. The people of Hillsborough not only shopped, lived, and worked "downtown", but celebrated with parades and festivals and carried out governmental functions.
One of these 150 year old buildings, situated on a bluff overlooking the river and one of the former mill buildings, is now home to "Tooky Mills Restaurant & Pub"; "Tooky", short for the name of the river, and "Mills", paying homage to the now silent voices of the mill "operatives" and looms.
We invite you to come visit us for lunch or dinner and explore the area. As one walks from the now Central Square down Bridge St. you can't help but notice the prominence of the mill buildings and the serenity of the Contoocook River. Both of these features helped make Hillsborough a viable economic center in the 19th century.