Boat Carnivals and Private Wharves

The steamer Belle of the Isles is docked at the Mount Washington wharf, while the yacht Swallow is docked at the end of the private wharf in the middle of the postcard. Scroll down to see a large, clear photo of the Belle of the Isles, and a poster featuring the Swallow.
A view of the wharves in the other direction, also during carnival day. The yacht Swallow is seen again in the foreground. The yacht Flying Yankee is in the center, and the party boat Iroqois is on the right.
A close-up view of the action on Water Carnival day.
A photo from a 1916 Lake Winnnipesaukee booklet by the B&M railroad captioned “Motor-boat Races at Weirs”
A color postcard, possible on a carnival day, showing the view from the Weirs of Governors Island.
These two Warren Huse, “Our Yesterdays” articles, about the July 31 and August 15, 1908 water carnivals, gives a good idea of the goings-on. [These articles ran in the August 2 and August 16, 2008 issues of the Laconia Citizen newspaper.]
Contrary to the caption of this old postcard, “Watching a boat race”, not too much boat racing seems to be going on
This view of the Weirs Beach waterfront shows three swan-like structures along the shoreline; these were actually the gates to the private wharves as seen in the photos above. Click here for another view of the waterfront showing these private wharves.
Another view of the private wharves shows all three of them, although the gateway to the middle wharf has not been painted white yet, as the others have been. Here is an ordinary, non-carnival day, with the old Mount Washington steamer pulling in. The Winnipesaukee Pier is seen clearly in the background.
The Mount leaving Weirs Beach, with the Private Wharf in the foreground of the photo.
A view of the carnival from the veranda of the Hotel Weirs. The Winnipesaukee Pier is on the left and the Mount Washington wharf on the right.
A similar view of the Pier from the Hotel on a quiet day

The Belle of the Isles

In 1891, Dr. J.A. Greene, future owner of the New Hotel Weirs, brought a canal boat named the Carroll from upper New York state to Lake Winnipesaukee. Dr. Greene rebuilt her and renamed her the Roxmont, after his Roxmont Poultry Farm on Moultonborough Neck and his Roxmont Castle on Long Island. He put her into regular steamship service from Weirs Beach to various stops around the Lake, including Long, Birch and Jolly Islands, Lakeport, and Melvin Village. He was the acting engineer on the Roxmont until 1894, where “…his greatest delight was to wipe a smear across his forehead with an oily rag, then climb up out of the engine room where he could be seen, and hear the shocked summer visitors at the Weirs wharf inquire, ‘Is that greasy looking man the famous Dr. Greene?’…”. Around 1896, the Roxmont Farm went out of business and the steamer as well. She was hauled out of the water onto the farm property, where she sat idle for six years. In 1902 Dr. Greene rebuilt her once again, rechristened her as the Belle of the Isles, and put her back into service on the Lakeport to Weirs Beach to Melvin Village run. During the building of the Castle in the Clouds, “…many hundreds of Italian laborers were brought from Boston to The Weirs by train and transported from there to Melvin by Belle of the Isles.” Purchased by the Winnipesaukee Transportation Company from Dr. Greene around 1904, she continued in active service until she was retired in 1914.

Circa 1906, the Belle of the Isles heads towards the steel truss bridge that spans the Weirs Channel while two bystanders on the bridge watch her approach. The postcard artist has humorously drawn the Detroit Publishing logo onto the foreground rock in the Channel. The first image shows the colorized postcard version, the second the original black and white photo.

The Belle of the Isles passes the Endicott Rock monument as it enters the Weirs Channel from Weirs Bay in 1906.
The Roxmont, as the Belle of the Isles was known before her rebuild in 1902.



“This magnificent boathouse, still standing today, recalls a long passed era of gracious living. Built to house the private steam-powered yacht Swallow, it includes three story high doors to accommodate its occupant’s masts. The 75′ vessel’s exquisite lines incorporate a fantail stern deck with wicker furniture, a curved front pilothouse, and culminate in a schooner-type bowsprit. This hints at her seagoing origin along the New England coast where she was built at Four Rivers in 1890. Joining in this snapshot of life on Lake Winnipesaukee in the 1920’s is a sleek and graceful 1908 locally-built laker and the ‘Model A” of family boating, a 22’ Chris Craft Cadet.”

A colorized postcard of the Swallow. A book about the Swallow, subtitled “Lake Winnipesaukee’s most picturesque steam yacht”, written by Jack Gotthardt, can be found online.

Another postcard of the Swallow. The Allen A Camp was located on Lake Wentworth. According to an old Camp brochure, “…twice weekly guests assemble at the main lodge, where they are taken by camp bus to the Wolfeboro Pier. There they board the Swallow, a graceful appearing craft, and amidst songs and cheers smoothly sail out of sight around the bend…”
A photo from an advertisement for the Goodhue & Hawkins Navy Yard in Wolfeboro that appeared in the Lakes Region Association’s 1949 Where To guidebook.
Same photo, better copy.
A pair of photos of the Swallow taken by photographer Walter Merryman at Camp Kehonka in Alton Bay in August of 1940.

The Flying Yankee

The Flying Yankee, seen in the boat carnival photo near the top of this page, continued to offer rides through the 1940s. The photo below shows a sign offering Flying Yankee rides at Irwin’s Winnipesaukee Gardens, while the 1940s version of the Mount Washington cruise ship leaves the Weirs.

A color linen postcard, postmarked in 1949, shows the “M.V. Mount Washington leaving the Weirs, Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H.”. The postcard caption adds, “A trip always to be remembered.”  A crowd at Irwin’s Winnipesaukee Gardens watches the Mount departing. A sign for the Flying Yankee is seen on the docks. The time indicated for the next Flying Yankee cruise, at 3:30pm, is the same as in the previous postcard.