The illustration below is from the 1885, first edition of the Boston & Lowell railroad’s Summer Saunterings. In addition to descriptions of places to go and the train schedules to get there, this guidebook had extensive listings of accommodations along the routes served by the railroad.
The engraving below is from the “Profusely Illustrated” 1889 edition of Here and There in New England and Canada: Lakes and Streams by M.F. Sweetser and published by the Passenger Department of the Boston & Maine railroad. The Hotel Weirs is at the center of this illustration. While the Lady of the Lake steams towards its wharf, a passenger train approaches the 1872-1892 train station. High on the hill is the Winnecoette hotel, built by D.S. Dolittle in 1879. An inset shows a fishing scene with two boats. In one boat, the men are fishing, while in the other boat, ladies, replete in their Victorian garb, watch the men.
Below is the same photo, but a different artist has colorized the picture. The telephone pole in front of the HQ has been retouched out of this photo.
The following postcard was postmarked on August 26, 1910. Note the caption in the lower right. This establishes that the street had been renamed from Railroad Avenue (its original name) to Lakeside Avenue before this date.
Another view of the Hotel Weirs Bazaar.
Original (below) and two, very different colorized versions of the same photo (above). The sign on the telephone pole says “Ice Cream”.
The sign above the store on the corner has been crudely blacked out on this colorized postcard. Reason unknown.
Here is the original photo, with the sign intact.
A later postcard using the same photo was artistically retouched, with a lawn replacing the railroad tracks that traversed in front of the hotel.
Below are two versions of the same photo. In the bottom version the canopy of the Hotel Weirs Delicatessen appears in red and white stripes. Notice the man in the right hand window of the store. Considering that many of the customers of the Hotel were from New York City (the Hotel had a sales office there), it is no surprise that a Delicatessen would do well with the Hotel’s customers, who were accustomed to seeing a deli on many a New York street corner.
Detail from the above paperweight:
Demitasse cup and saucer
Double candy bowl, with photo of Hotel on left and Mount Washington steamer on right
Commemorative “blue willow” china plate, 1968
Cup and saucer
Athough one cannot tell it here, this is an absolutely beautiful postcard dated 1909. All of the windows, as well as the strung lights, are done in copper or gold foil; when the postcard is held to the light, they sparkle and glow.
A very rare 1907 souvenir of the New Hotel Weirs, with 12 fold out photos. To see the fold out photos, click here!
This photo, from a stereoview from the early 1880’s, shows a row of freshly planted trees, later seen grown to full size in many of the color postcards of the Hotel. In this early view, behind the Hotel we see the NH Veterans Dining Pavilion, as well as the faint outline of the observation tower at the top of Tower Street. The tower burned down in 1885.
This stereoview was stamped on the reverse side as the Weirs Photograph Company, Weirs, N.H. The photographers were T. C. Moon of Laconia and F.J. Moulton of Tilton.
Below is the front cover of a brochure from the 1890’s. The cover bears a photo of the hotel; the interior describes The Weirs and the hotel’s facilities and amenities; the rear cover bears an image of the lake. A few excerpts: “Deservedly the most popular of New Hampshire’s charming summer resorts…The air is soft and dry and laden with the aroma of the pine forest. Sufferers from throat and lung trouble here experience speedy relief. Malaria is here unknown. Hay fever is at once relieved…. The large steamers ‘Mt. Washington’ and ‘Maid of the Isle’ cross the lake several times daily and connect with trains upon other lines. The business man can take breakfast here, go to Boston, do a full day’s work, and return in season for supper with his family…. The Hotel is supplied with the purest spring water, both for drinking and cooking purposes. Soft running water on every floor. Hot and Cold Water Baths, Electric Bells, Fire Escape and a Night Watchman, who never for a moment, leaves the house unguarded. The table is supplied with Vegetables, Berries, Milk and Cream from the farm daily…. Boating and Fishing excellent. Close at hand can be caught Trout, Black Bass, Pickerel and Perch in abundance…. Also a well appointed Barber Shop, Billiard and Pool Room, News Stand and Telegraph Office….”
This photo is from a “Views of Lake Winnepiseogee and Vicinity” cabinet card from the early 1880’s by the early Weirs photographer F.J. Moulton. It shows the Billiard Room that occupied a small building to the right of the Hotel; the sign can almost be read. This, perhaps, was the first ever amusement business in Weirs Beach!
An engraving from an advertisement in the 1901 “Festival Programme” of the New Hampshire Music Teachers’ Association – the equivalent of a rock festival in its day. This was the 12th annual festival of the NHMTA, so apparently the first had occured during the summer of 1890. (A precursor, a “New England Musical Festival”, had taken place even earlier in Weirs Beach, in 1884.) The 1901 festival took place in the Music Hall at Endicott Rock Park from Monday, July 29 to Friday, August 2. The music was from the classical repertoire and featured lots and lots of singing. Tuesday afternoon was the State Talent Concert. An Organ recital was given on Wednesday afternoon at the Free Baptist Church in Lakeport, and a Song Recital on Wednesday evening, at the Music Hall. On Thursday, a business meeting of the Association, and a Lecture Recital on Verdi and Wagner, took place in the morning (or “forenoon”, as it was known then). This was followed by a Concert of State Soloists in the afternoon, and a Grand Concert of Miscellaneous Music in the evening, featuring a full 17pc orchestra and a few of the best singers. On Friday afternoon there was a Piano Forte Recital. The grand finale of the Festival took place Friday evening, when the festival chorus, who had been rehearsing all week, accompanied by the festival orchestra, performed the Oratorio of the Messiah, by Handel. A ticket good for all of the week’s events cost $2.50.
The program noted that “A choice spot has been chosen for the annual festival of the Association; a prettier could not have been selected; the blue Lake, with its many charms, dotted with its scores of islands and surrounded by those mountains that are the pride of the old Granite State. The environment lends much to the charm of music; could you find a better one than the historic Weirs? …Taken in all, it is doubtful, if a better programme has ever been heard in New Hampshire than will be heard at the Weirs July 29-Aug. 2, 1901. If you care for music you should take your vacation that week and enjoy yourself.”
The New Hotel Weirs was not only the lodging facility that advertised in the Festival program. The Lakeside House offered “Special Rates to Convention People – Cool Verandas – Excellent Service – Relishable Viands” (Relishable Viands meant Delicious Food); the Winnicoette offered the “Grandest View of Lakes and Mountains in All New Hampshire; was “Newly Furnished – Ten minutes’ walk from Station – Free Carriage”; and for Story’s Tavern, located nearest to the Music Hall, “To patrons of the Musical Festival and of the Music Teachers’ Meeting a special price has been made.”
The cover of the Festival program.
This is the earliest known brochure for the Hotel Weirs, from 1885, before it was considered “New”.
The opening page of the brochure described not only the amenities of the Hotel, but also its life-saving devices, as fire was one of the most significant hazards of the day. The Spencer Fire Escape was the creation of the inventor Charles F. Spencer of Rochester, NY, who patented a device (patent no. 272, 389 – scroll down to see the patent) “which in repeated experiments was proven successful in the prime object of saving life” (Union Advertiser, March 13, 1883); while Harden Star Hand Grenades, grenade-shaped, star-embossed blue glass bottles filled with a fire retardant, were a precursor to the pressurized fire extinguisher. In a twist of irony, the Hotel was lost to fire, but the fire was not anything the Star Hand Grenades could have put out, as the fire spread from a nearby building that was aflame. .
The enclosed map showed NO roads – only railroads and steamship routes!
The Spencer fire escape.
A view showing the first, 1896 expansion of the hotel. From a souvenir photo booklet.
This is the only known brochure with a floor plan of the Hotel. The floor plan shows that there were 33 guest rooms, 10 private baths, and 3 toilets (one for ladies only) on the second floor; 38 guest rooms and 8 baths (7 private, one public) on the third floor; and 46 guest rooms on the fourth floor, for a total of 107 guest rooms, 18 baths, and 3 toilets. There were no guest rooms on the first floor. Page 9 of the brochure claims that there were 30 rooms with baths, but the math doesn’t add up. It is unknown how this large a Hotel could only have 3 toilets!
This brochure was produced before the final, 1905-1906 addition to the Hotel, which added another wing to the Hotel, to the left of the main entrance. The brochure was 24 pages long. The pages are presented here in their original order.
On August 28, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt visited Weirs Beach to give a speech in the Veteran’s Grove. Thousands came to watch. Below, a picture of the President, standing on Lakeside Avenue, surrounded by a big crowd, with the New Hotel Weirs in the background, its verandas overflowing with onlookers.
The Manchester Fife and Drum Corps pose for a 1909 photo on the front lawn of the New Hotel Weirs.
In 1902, 1911, and 1923, the Sanborn Fire Insurance Company released maps of Weirs Beach that had the New Hotel Weirs drawn in. Those maps are shown below. The heights of the various buildings, in stories, are detailed on the map. The main building was 3 1/2 stories high, while the turrets were 4 1/2 stories – the tallest structures in Weirs Beach at the time.
The 1911 map shows the completed hotel, with its final wing that had been added in 1906. The other notable differences are the additions of a garage; the Hotel Weirs Bazaar, a general store; and another outbuilding that housed “Meats, Paints & Oil” and a grocery.
There seems to be little difference between the 1911 and 1923 maps.
Below we’ve overlaid the 1911 map with a contemporary tax map of the same land. We can see that the entrance and office of the New Weirs Hotel stood right where the pool of the Half Moon Motel & Cottages is today.