The roots of the Hanover Improvement Society can be traced to the “Ornamental Tree Association,” founded in 1874 by the ubiquitous Hiram Hitchcock and others. Their mission was to enhance the “desirability of our Village” with shade trees.
In 1892, the Directors of the Association—by then renamed “The Hanover Tree Association”—invited the citizens of the village to meet and organize a “Village Improvement Society” to expand the mission of the Tree Association to promote the “growth and prosperity of the village.” In 1902 when legislation was introduced that allowed local governments to raise taxes for improvements, the Village Improvement Society became dormant.
In 1922, Frank F. and Frank W. Davison (father and son), owners and operators of the Nugget Theatre, donated their flourishing business to the town, with the proviso that all net proceeds be used for the “benefit of the Town.” Because State Law prohibited any town from operating such a commercial business, the town leaders helped establish the not-for-profit “Hanover Improvement Society,” a self-perpetuating Society of twenty members to operate the Nugget.
The Society operates independently to fund projects and facilities beneficial to the Town. Its mission has broadened over the years to include the development and operation of recreational facilities at Storrs Pond (1935) and the James W. Campion, III Ice Skating Rink (1988).
Today’s 26-member Society is a charitable, 501 (c) 3 organization composed of community leaders who work closely with the Town and other civic organizations to improve and maintain the quality of life in Hanover and the Upper Valley.