Concord includes the villages of Penacook, East Concord and West Concord. The city is home to the University of New Hampshire School of Law, New Hampshire's only law school; St. Paul's School, a private preparatory school; New Hampshire Technical Institute, a two-year community college; and the Granite State Symphony Orchestra.
The area that would become Concord was originally settled thousands of years ago by Abenaki Native Americans called the Pennacook. The tribe fished for migrating salmon, sturgeon and alewives with nets strung across the rapids of the Merrimack River. The stream was also the transportation route for their birch bark canoes, which could travel from Lake Winnipesaukee to the Atlantic Ocean. The broad sweep of the Merrimack River valley floodplain provided good soil for farming beans, gourds, pumpkins, melons and maize.
On January 17, 1725, the Province of Massachusetts Bay, which then claimed territories west of the Merrimack River, granted the Concord area as the Plantation of Penacook. It was settled between 1725 and 1727 by Captain Ebenezer Eastman and others from Haverhill, Massachusetts. On February 9, 1734, the town was incorporated as Rumford, from which Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford would take his title. It was renamed Concord in 1765 by Governor Benning Wentworth following a bitter boundary dispute between Rumford and the town of Bow; the city name was meant to reflect the new concord, or harmony, between the disputant towns. Citizens displaced by the resulting border adjustment were given land elsewhere as compensation. In 1779, New Pennacook Plantation was granted to Timothy Walker, Jr. and his associates at what would be incorporated in 1800 as Rumford, Maine, the site of Pennacook Falls.
Concord grew in prominence throughout the 18th century, and some of its earliest houses survive at the northern end of Main Street. In the years following the Revolution, Concord's central geographical location made it a logical choice for the state capital, particularly after Samuel Blodget in 1807 opened a canal and lock system to allow vessels passage around the Amoskeag Falls downriver, connecting Concord with Boston by way of the Middlesex Canal. In 1808, Concord was named the official seat of state government. The 1819 State House is the oldest capitol in the nation in which the state's legislative branches meet in their original chambers. The city would become noted for furniture-making and granite quarrying. In 1828, Lewis Downing joined J. Stephens Abbot to form Abbot-Downing Coaches. Their most famous coach was the Concord Coach, modeled after the coronation coach of King George III. In the 19th century, Concord became a hub for the railroad industry, with Penacook a textile manufacturing center using water power from the Contoocook River. Today, the city is a center for health care and several insurance companies. It is also home to Concord Litho, one of the largest independently owned commercial printing companies in the country.