Lakeport Opera House


Above, the Lakeport Opera House on a beautiful spring day, May 10, 2022. Below, historical stereoviews of the Lakeport Opera House. Click the link above to go to the website of the restored Lakeport Opera House. The building, at 781 Union Avenue, dates from 1882. It was originally Moore’s Opera House. The theater, on the second floor, once seated 350 people. The theater has been completely restored, and reopened in June, 2021. The Laconia Daily Sun reported on July 30, 2019, that it would relocate its operations to the first floor of the building. In 2020, the building was completely renovated, and in addition to the Sun, it now features a coffeehouse on the first floor. Condos are to be built on the 3rd floor.

Lakeport Square was once known as Depot Square. Cards from 1905-1909.

Lakeport Square in 1937. The architecture is little changed from the 1909 postcard.

Union Avenue, Lakeport Square, in 1917. The Opera House is out of the picture, just to the right. Horses are drinking at a fountain.

The Lakeport Railroad Station. The last stop before reaching Weirs Beach.

Lakeport Square was also once known as Webster Square. It received the designation in 1922 in honor of Bugler Earl A. Webster, who was killed in WW1’s deadly trench warfare in the Argonne.

A view of the Opera House in the 1920s, looking south from the center of the square.

Opera House in the 1920s

The photo below can be dated as taken in 1946, when the bottom floor of the Opera House housed the Lakeport post office and a Rexall drug store, and movies were still being shown at the second floor theater. The movie marquee sign shows that “Corp Dolan Goes AWOL”, also known as “Rendevous with Annie” (1946), was the featured movie. The original King Kong (1933) was also being shown.

“The Square, Lake Port”, late 1940s. On the extreme left of the photo is a vertical “Theatre” sign. The neon sign was installed in January 1947. The title of the postcard, simply “The Square”, shows that Lakeport Square was no longer called “Depot” or “Webster” square by this point.

Views from the top of the Opera House.

In the postcard view above, the NEW, Park Street United Baptist Church can be seen, left. The church to the right was the Union Avenue Baptist Church. Below, a similar postcard.

Below, a detail from a circa 1875 stereoview taken from the top of the OLD United Baptist Church of Lakeport. This view was taken from the earlier version of the church, which was built in 1852, expanded in 1877, and burned in 1890. The NEW version of the United Baptist Church was finished in 1892, and still stands, at 35 Park St.

The building at the center that resembles the Opera House was actually its predecessor, the Weeks Block, built circa 1871 and burned in 1881. The new Opera House building substantially resembled the old Weeks Block building, except for the roof and windows, which now sported elaborate lintels. This suggests that perhaps the burning was not total and the old building was partially saved. The photo shows Cole’s Hill extending upward behind the Weeks block.

A postcard view from the top of Cole’s (Reservoir) Hill.

Another postcard view from the top of the hill.

Looking down Elm Street towards the Opera House.

A military parade in Lakeport Square, late 1880s. The two signs on the Opera House read Drs. Moore & Raby, and Drugs & Medicines.