Upper Darby

My town of Westmoreland, NH, has no visible evidence of extreme wealth. But my fictional Darby does. I call it Upper Darby, a place of grand houses, even mansions, inhabited by wealthy and prominent families. It's based on a section of Dublin, NH, that has great views of Mount Monadnock and/or Dublin Lake. I used to think that Dublin itself was far richer than Westmoreland, but when I looked at recent statistics I discovered that the median income in Dublin is actually slightly lower than it is in Westmoreland. What Dublin has is a pocket or two of great wealth. Just what is the influence on a small, New England town: that's the question I posed for myself when I created Upper Darby. Some but not all of the answers play out in the novels of the Darby Chronicles.

Upper Darby is colder in the winter and cooler in the summer than the other Darbys. Upper Darby includes a small section of primeval forest, large chunks of rugged wood lands, high-country beaver dams, ledges, and outlooks with views of Abare's Folly Mountain, Grace Pond and on a clear day the Green Mountains of Vermont. Upper Darby road which winds through the hills is the only paved road. You really can't see much on the drive, because the trees are in the way. The real scenery, some of it quite spectacular, is available only the narrow dirt roads off Upper Darby Road. On such roads you'll find the Salmon Estate and other grand houses built by rich families back in the Gilded Age.

Upper Darby is dominated by three families–the Salmons (pronounced sal-mohn), the Prells, and the Butterfields. So many grand houses in New Hampshire towns are built often in locations of wild habitat–swamps or steep grades, on ledges, the soil strewn with glacial erratics, and serviced by poor roads. It's ironic that the people who settled in such areas in New England tended to be the very poor and the very rich, the poor because it was the only place they could afford and the rich because of the views and the beauty of the landscape. In Darby, one of those progeny of the very rich, Raphael "Reggie" Salmon, creates a land trust and buys up as much of the Darby wild lands as he can get his hands in part to drive out the poor (because he believes they deface the landscape) and in part because they happen to be in the way of his desires for a natural landscape with a minimum of human habitation. (For more information click on The Trust.)