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Weirs Beach has been habitated for thousands
of years. Recent archeological expeditions at the beach
have found that Native Americans used the area as a summer
camp for hunting and fishing as long ago as 8000 B.C.
The native Abenaquis, members of the Penacook tribe, called
their village Aquedoctan, meaning "place of good fishing".
For fishing, they built a special type of basket, called
a WEIR, to capture the abundant fish (shad) that migrated
through the Weirs Channel on their way from Lake Winnipesaukee
to the Merrimac river to the sea. Several WEIRS went into
the channel to block the shad from passing through, effectively
In 1652 an expedition sent by the colonial Governor Endicott
of the Massachusetts Bay Colony followed this trail of water
in reverse, discovering Lake Winnipesaukee upon arriving
at Weirs Beach. Endicott Rock was then carved with the initials
of the explorers to mark the northern boundary of the colony.
The rock is still there today, protected by a monument erected
in 1892. The first white men to settle permanently in the
area arrived in 1736, with the construction of a fort. This
marked the end of the era of Indian habitation of Weirs
When did tourists begin to arrive
in Weirs Beach?
In 1848, the Boston, Concord, and Montreal railroad reached
Weirs Beach, making it easily accessible to New Englanders.
Weirs Beach grew to become one of the most popular tourist
destinations in New England. By the turn of the century,
four express trains left Boston's Union Station each day
bound for Weirs Beach. After peaking in 1915, train service
from Boston began a long, slow decline, culminating with
the end of service in 1960.
In 1849, in a shrewd business move to increase rail passenger
traffic to Weirs Beach, the Boston, Concord, and Montreal
railroad purchased the steamship the Lady of the Lake. From
its home base in Weirs Beach, the Lady of the Lake offered
regular, comfortable service to the Lake Winnipesaukee ports
of Wolfeboro, Center Harbor, and Alton Bay, until its last
excursion in 1893.
The original Mount Washington, owned by the competing Boston
and Maine railroad, began service in 1872. It was longer,
faster, and more luxurious than the Lady of the Lake.
In 1939 the original Mount Washington burned and sank. It
was the end of the steamship era on Lake Winnipesaukee.
Besides tourists, who else came to
In the early 1870's, Methodists discovered that Weirs Beach
provided the perfect setting for their summer religious
meetings. In 1874, 13 acres were purchased for a "camp-meeting
By the 1890's, the Methodist campgrounds had evolved into
a densely settled colony of cottages and cabins close by
In 1879, fourteen years after the Civil War, the New Hampshire
Veterans Association held their first annual reunion at
Weirs Beach. Purchasing a large tract of land on Lakeside
Avenue from the railroad, they constructed a series of Victorian
buildings, one for each regiment, in the style of the times.
Known as the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) buildings,
many of these grand old buildings are still standing today.
Every four years, New Hampshire natives recall another type
of person who often came to Weirs Beach - POLITICIANS! Several
US Presidents have visited Weirs Beach. Among them, President
Theodore Roosevelt, who stayed at the New Hotel Weirs in
1904. More recently, George Bush, who visited in 1988, while
campaigning for the Presidency.