History of Lebanon

Lebanon History

The name Lebanon comes from the biblical cedars of ancient Lebanon, a Semitic word meaning "white" that refers to the nearby mountain with perpetual snow on its summit. The City of Lebanon (just a town then) was founded in 1761 and was settled later that year. The name of the town was most likely selected by the many early settlers who were from Lebanon, Connecticut, including Eleazar Wheelock, founder of Dartmouth College. 

In 1781, Lebanon was one of the towns that attempted to join Vermont but later returned to New Hampshire. 

It became a "City" in 1957. The City’s Charter was adopted by the State Legislature and signed by Governor Lane Dwinell on July 17th. The Charter, a document granting certain specified rights, powers, privileges, or functions from the sovereign power of a state to an individual, corporation, city or other unit of local organization, was set for referendum, and on October 15th, by a vote of 1521 - 805, The Town of Lebanon became the City of Lebanon. Lebanon was chartered as a City Council/City Manager form of government. The first City Council elections were held on December 10th, and the first Council was seated in January 1958.

Its location at the confluence of the Connecticut River and the Mascoma River made it a prime location for the transport of resources and provided an easy energy resource for running mills.

Textile Industry

The region has a rich history in textile manufacture and was still heavily reliant on the textile industry as recently as 40 years ago. The evolution of the railroads running up and down the river, as well as to Boston helped to solidify Lebanon's success in the textiles industry.

As the textile industry came under attack from foreign imports and other economic changes, the mills closed and the nature of the region changed. Lebanon began recruiting and attracting clean, high-technology industry to replace the failing mills and railroads. As a result, we are now home to software companies, high-tech manufacturers, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. We are also home to the most technologically advanced plasma-cutting technology companies in the world.

Lebanon City Hall Clock Tower

In 1792, Robert Colburn, a Lebanon local, sold a portion of his land to the town for City Hall to be built. The original structure burned in 1924 and a complete remodel was done. The clock atop City Hall was generously donated by Ralph R. Wood in 1924. The clock was completely remodeled in 2002 by D'Avanza Clock Repair. LLC. To learn more about the City Hall Clock Tower, please read an article, "What Keeps It Ticking?" from the Lebanon Times Holiday 2022 edition. 

Dartmouth College

Our close proximity to Dartmouth College and the Tuck School of Business Administration and Thayer School of Engineering has helped to create a fast moving, leading-edge environment for entrepreneurs. Many of the companies that call Lebanon home were cast out of the crucible of the Dartmouth community.

Location Opportunities

Our location at a crossroads (Interstates 91 and 89) and easy access by rail and air continue to be a vital element in the continuing evolution of Lebanon. View the Amtrak website for details on traveling by rail and view the Lebanon Airport page for details about traveling by air to and from Lebanon.

Additional Resources