Opened in 1879, the Winnecoette House was the first large hotel in Weirs Beach. However, it was only another year before its major competitors, the Hotel Weirs and the Lakeside House, came onto the scene. Click here for a view from the Lake showing the Winnecoette high up on the hill above the Hotel Weirs.
The following two cabinet card photos, taken by early Weirs photographer F.J. Moulton, shows in detail the sign over the front steps that named the Hotel.
Here’s a RPPC (real photo post card) circa 1920’s. The shutters are absent from the windows in this photo, giving the hotel a sparser, cleaner look.
A view from the front porch of the Winnecoette.
The engraved 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, the guidebook had extensive listings of accommodations along the routes served by the railroad. This illustration of the Winnecoette was inaccurate in several regards. The Winnecoette never featured a cupola; its flagpole was firmly planted on its front lawn, not on its roof; and its front entrance was skewed to the right, and was not in the center of the building.
The illustration may have been drawn by J. Warren Thyng. Thyng was the Principal of the Salem, MA art school, and a frequent visitor to the Weirs. In 1882, he organized a four week summer art school at the Weirs. The illustration appeared in an advertisement in the art school brochure. According to the advertisement, the name Winnecoette meant “Beautiful Pine Place”. The ad continued, “The Winnecoette is delightfully located upon the western slope, near the Weirs. Its situation commands one of the most extensive lake and mountain views in New Hampshire; and for healthfulness, beauty of prospect, and attractiveness, it is unsurpassed.” The hotel was operated that summer by a Mr. Irving W. Doolittle, who may have been the original owner.
An advertising brochure, circa 1920’s vintage, locates the property at “Weirs Heights”, while the postcard below locates the property at “Weirs Highlands”. These are the only references the webmaster has seen to these parts of Weirs Beach.
The Winnecoette became the Shangri-La in 1952, when it was renamed by George and Mary Spanos, who purchased the property on May 2, 1952. At first, there was little to distinguish it from its previous incarnation. Only the name seemed to have changed. Eventually, however, the hotel was greatly expanded and modernized.
A postcard from the same time as the above brochure.
While the view of Winnipesaukee from the Winnecoette was superb, the hotel also had a nice view of Paugus Bay. Note the primitive dirt road in the foreground- this would later become today’s Route 3.
Here is a contemporary photo of Paugus Bay, taken from the top of Brickyard Mountain on a lovely spring day, April 24, 2013. A model home for the Meredith Bay housing development can be seen in the foreground.