Original Weirs Beach Train Station (1859-1879)
The following engraving, drawn by artist, historian and travel writer John Badger Bachelder, was first printed in the 1874, second edition of “Bachelder’s Illustrated Tourist’s Guide of The United States – Popular Resorts and How to Reach Them”. Bachelder’s color sketch of the scene is available on the New Hampshire Historical Society website here.
Bachelder’s guidebook was first published in Boston in 1873. The first edition was really two books in one, as it had extensive coverage of Gettysburg (“What to See, and How to See It”) for its first 150 pages. Only about 75 pages of the first edition were devoted to the rest of the USA. The first edition did not include an engraving of Weirs Landing. The second edition dropped the coverage of Gettysburg (for which Bachelder became famous) and devoted its nearly 200 pages to travels across the USA (primarily the Northeastern US).
The Weirs engraving and information was repeated in the third edition in 1875, and in a fourth, final edition in 1876.
This is a very rare, circa 1870 photograph of the original Weirs Beach train station. It was part of a stereoview (#351) by the Kilburn Brothers. Circa 1870, Lakeside Avenue was a meadow! The street was probably cleared of brush shortly after, circa 1871. On January 5, 1883, the Laconia Democrat newspaper reported, “At the Weirs, the new road from the railroad bridge to Doe’s brickyard is under good headway.” The road was initially called Railroad Avenue, and it was completed by the end of May, 1883. Another decade later, in July, 1894, the Laconia Democrat reported that “….workmen were making a big improvement to Railroad Square”, the block at the center of the Weirs. “A large amount of grade has been hauled in and the roadway is now about level with the railroad tracks, instead of from two to three feet below.” It is unknown exactly when the street was renamed Lakeside Avenue, but in the 1910’s, the new name was well established.