The original Music Hall at Weirs Beach was built in 1886 at Endicott Rock Park. Audience members could not only enjoy the music, but they also could appreciate a nice view of the Lake. The hall was destroyed in a wind storm in the winter of 1902-1903. In 1904, a new hall was built on Tower Street.
Although there seems to be grafitti written on the fencing, the writing is actually advertising for two of the popular topical analgesics of the day, Knight’s Opodeldoc and Sloan’s Liniment. A topical analgesic is an ointment rubbed on the skin to relieve muscle pain. Today, we are familiar with similar products such as Ben-Gay and Tiger Balm. Knight’s Opdeldoc, produced by S.C. Knight of South Berwick, Maine, claimed to relieve not only muscle pain, but also “fresh burns and freezes, contracted cords, lame stomach, ague in the face, spinal affections, etc.” In this sense, with its extravagant claims, it was reminiscent of the patent medicines of the time. Interestingly, Sloan’s Liniment, at the time the most popular medication of this type, is still available today! Earl S. Sloan, the entrepeneur who introduced and popularized the product, greatly expanded production in 1904 when he purchased Dr. J.A. Green’s (owner of the New Hotel Weirs from 1895-1905) former Nervura patent medicine factory in Boston.
Below is the 1898 New Hampshire Music Teachers’ Association Festival program cover. The festival took place at the Music Hall and spanned several days, beginning on a Tuesday afternoon and ending on a Friday evening. The music for the festival, a mix of classical and opera, was provided by Conductor Henri G. Blaisdell and his 15-piece Festival Orchestra, plus many special guests. This was the 9th annual festival of the NHMTA, so apparently the first had occurred during the summer of 1890. (A precursor, a “New England Musical Festival“, had taken place even earlier in Weirs Beach, in 1884.)
Below are the music and lyrics to the song “New Hampshire – An Ode”, which appeared in the 1898 program. The song was composed by the Reverend Lorin Webster, the Rector of the Holderness school, and was “To be Sung at the Weirs Festival”, according to the program. The song was dedicated to George A. Ramsdell, who was Governor of New Hampshire at the time.
The cover of the 1899 Festival program. “Thy voice, O Music, is divine. In eighteen hundred ninety-nine.”
The cover of the 1901 Festival program.
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.”
Below is the 1902 New Hampshire Music Teachers’ Association program cover and title page. This would have been the last festival to take place in the Music Hall before its destruction.
In the landscape view below, taken from the historic Prescott Farm property on White Oaks Road, the original Music Hall can be seen in its location at what is today Endicott Rock Park. The photo was taken by F.J. Moulton circa 1895. Click here for more views of Weirs Beach from White Oaks Road.
Below, a photo from the Weirs Channel shows the Music Hall on the right, along with the Endicott Rock monument in the foreground center, and the Aquedoktan Hotel in the background left. The Endicott Street bridge over the B&M railroad tracks can be seen in front of the hotel. The statue atop the Endicott Monument is hard to see in the photo, but it is there, having been installed in 1901. Photo dates from 1901 or 1902.