Settled after 1736, it was intended to be a fort town protecting the Province of Massachusetts Bay during the French and Indian Wars. Roberts The community was granted as Upper Ashuelot in 1735 by Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher to soldiers who had fought in the war against Canada.The city nevertheless retains a considerable inventory of fine Victorian architecture from its flush mill town era. The highest point in Keene is the summit of Grays Hill in the city's northwest corner, at 1,388 feet (423 m) above sea level. During the summer, Keene can get hit by thunderstorms from the west, but the Green Mountains to the west often break up some of the storms, so that Keene doesn't usually experience a thunderstorm at full strength.An example is the Keene Public Library, which occupies a Second Empire mansion built about 1869 by manufacturer Henry Colony. Keene is entirely within the Connecticut River watershed, with all of the city except for the northwest corner draining to the Connecticut via the Ashuelot River. The last time a tornado hit Cheshire County was in 1997. The most recent such winter was 2002-2003, when Keene received 112.5" of snow.Snow can continue to occur right through the end of April, but on the other end, 80-degree days can begin in late March. Keene's first snowfall usually occurs in early November, though the city can also see 60-degree days into mid November.Significant rain events can occur in the spring and fall. During King George's War, the village was attacked and burned by Indians.
There were 9,013 households out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.2% were non-families.
31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.
The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.86. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.8 males.
Recent examples are the blizzard of 2005 and the blizzard of 2006.
Keene is situated in an area where cold air meets the moisture from the south, so oftentimes Keene gets the jackpot with winter storms. Even in the warmest of winters, Keene usually has at least one night below zero.