Where can I find more historical information about Weirs Beach?
No history of Weirs Beach would be complete without addressing its intimate connection with the Lake and the water craft that traveled upon it: luxurious passenger steamers and elegant, mahogony & brass boats. The New Hampshire Boat Musuem (603) 569-4554, in Wolfeboro, has many displays, which, enhanced with archival photos, trophies and models, bring to life a truly grand era of boating.
Miss Winnipesaukee speedboat rides were offered for 42 years (1930–1972) at Irwin’s Winnipesaukee Gardens. A man with a megaphone advertising the “10-mile”, 20-minute rides could be heard all over Weirs Beach. The megaphone man’s pitch went something like the following: “Come on down for the next thrilling Miss Winnipesaukee speedboat ride! Enjoy a 10 mile, 20 minute ride! See the mountains and ride the waves on the fastest, safest and largest speedboat in the country! Come onnnnnnn down!”According to Gary Morse, who was a driver and megaphone pitchman in 1972, “…the best part was how we elongated the “Come on down” for as long as we could hold our breath.” The pitch was repeated over and over again throughout the day, every day during the summer season.
At the peak of their popularity in the late 1940’s, there was a fleet of five of the speedboats, all nearly identical, circa 1930 vintage, 26′ or 28′ triple-cockpit Chris Craft runabouts that seated nine. The painting below, “Another Summer” by Alton, NH artist Peter Ferber, depicts the Weirs Beach waterfront in the late 40’s/early 50’s.
Since 2016, you can once again take a classic wooden speedboat ride on the Lake, on the 28′ 1931 triple-cockpit Chris Craft “Miss Meredith”. The 45 minute ride leaves from the EKAL activity center in Meredith.
You can explore the history of Weirs Beach and other towns around the lake up close and in person at the Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society museum. Located at 503 Endicott St N in Weirs Beach (one mile north of the Weirs Beach sign on Route 3), the museum houses many exhibits on the 300+ year history of the area.
To read about the history of Weirs Beach, consult the Weirs Times, a newspaper that frequently offers a front page article on Weirs Beach history and is always chock full of historical tidbits. First published from 1883-1902, in 1992 the paper was revived and today is a free weekly with a circulation of 30,000.
Another great source of historical information about Weirs Beach are the historical photograph and postcard galleries on Winnipesaukee.com. Many hours can easily be spent perusing these on-line galleries. One contributor in particular, “McDude”, has posted a massive collection of old Weirs Beach photographs and postcards. His fascinating 3-part Weirs Beach thread can be found here, and his “Weirs Image Gallery” here.
Those interested in further pursuing the history of the area will find a gold mine of information at the historical societies in Laconia, Gilford, and Meredith, as well as at the New Hampshire Historical Society.
Another interesting museum to check out in the area is the Historic Belknap Mill Museum (603) 524-8813 in Laconia.
Click here to take a sentimental journey around Lake Winnipesaukee in 1906. Twenty four postcard views from the folder below.
Click here to take a sentimental journey around Lake Winnipesaukee in 1915. Eighteen postcard views from the folder below.
Canoeing was a popular theme for the cover of these postcard folders below.
HISTORY OF MUSEUMS
Museums that have come and gone from the Weirs Beach area include the following:
The American Police Motorcycle Museum was located in Meredith from circa 2012-2016.
The Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick was located in Weirs Beach from 1973-1978. (It was located at 1065 Watson Road, in the building that later became the Broken Antler restaurant, and then the Boot Hill Saloon.) A listing in the 1975 Weirs Beach guidebook invites visitors to “…an intelligent approach to the world of the occult and the supernatural”.