Veterans’ Association, Weirs Beach, NH (1)

The Civil War Monument and the entrance to the New Hampshire Veterans’ Association grounds on Lakeside Avenue in Weirs Beach, around 1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The scene in 2015:

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Located on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, the village of Weirs Beach in Laconia became a popular destination in the late 1800s.  Among the many people who traveled north in the summer were the Civil War veterans of the New Hampshire Veterans’ Association, whose reunions were held here.  Over the years, a number of buildings were added to the property, including the Lowell Building, seen in the center of both photos at the top of New Hampshire Avenue.  The sign over the road was added three years later, and in 1885 the Headquarters Building was built to the left, at the corner of Lakeside Avenue and New Hampshire Avenue.  The New Hotel Weirs can be seen on the far right, and the most recent addition to the 1906 scene was the statue, which was dedicated in 1894 in honor of Laommi Bean, a Weirs Beach farmer who was killed in the Civil War.  Today, the sign is long gone, and the statue was struck by lightning and destroyed in 1931. However, the property is still owned by the New Hampshire Veterans’ Association, and many of the historic buildings, including the Headquarters Building and the Lowell Building, have been restored.

6 thoughts on “Veterans’ Association, Weirs Beach, NH (1)”

  1. Has a reconstruction of the original NHVA buildings ever been considered, returning the street to its 1880s look? Any idea of what it would cost? I noticed in a photo the 5th NH building was in poor condition. Is it a home or an empty building? If there was interest and funding, could permission be had to refurbished the building to its original look? Has anyone attempted to replace the monument destroyed by lightening on land near by with an exact replica? Who would be the contact person to get permission to do any rebuilds?
    Thanks for your time.
    Robert Boyce

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    • I agree with the comment about refurbishing the buildings and building a replica of the monument. These buildings have major historical significance and are unique and unlike any military inspired structures I know of anywhere in the US. They should not be allowed to deteriorate and decay. Also the nh veterans association should sponsor guided tours for students, tourists and veterans groups during the summertime for a nominal fee that could go toward upkeep of these historic properties. I would give my right arm to have a look inside one of these bastions of history!

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  2. The NH veterans association should open up a Facebook page. It would be nice if people with an interest in history could have access to a page about these historical structures with photos, information about how make donations and updates about refurbishment being made and when tours and re-enactments are being planned. I would love to have a look inside one of these encampment houses someday which are so rich in history!

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  3. It is a shame that many of these buildings are now gone. One example is the so called “Dame Building”, which was constructed with money donated by Harriet Dame who served five years as a volunteer nurse with the Second N.H. Regiment of Volunteer Infantry.
    The Second N.H. Regiment was one of the most active New Hampshire regiments, serving at First and Second Manassas, The Peninsula Campaign, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and Cold Harbor; to name a few.

    At Gettysburg, the Second was assigned to General Dan Sickles’ Third Corps. The Second N.H. was decimated in the fighting in the Peach Orchard, on the second day of the battle. Sickles’ Third Corps was virtually destroyed.

    My great great grandfather William H. Piper was a corporal in the Second NH. He came home and made his life in Laconia. He was a past commander of his G.A.R. post.

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  4. My wife and I just had a tour of the site kindly provided by Fred Merrill, the Historian for the N.H. Veterans Association. The present limitations caused by Covid-19 precluded our entering any of the buildings, except for one, which had just been vacated by the family who had rented it. But Fred gave us an extensive “walk-about” of the grounds, accompanied by sharing his detailed knowledge of the history of the site.

    I was very happy to see the work the N.H. Veterans Association has done and continues to do to repair and maintain these old historic buildings…eight still remain of the original nineteen.

    Much more still needs to be done. Did you know that these buildings are available to the public for rent in the Summer months? Anyone doing so can enjoy spectacular views of The Weirs and Lake Winnipsaukee, and have quick and easy access to the beach, the MV Mount Washington, the Train Station, and all the attractions the Weirs offers.

    The buildings ARE rustic, as befits their 19th Century construction. REMEMBER — they were built for (and in some cases by) the veterans of such engagements as Manassas, Fredericksburg, Antietam, Gettysburg and Cold Harbor. Staying overnight, or for several nights — is a way to participate in the history that dwells here.

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  5. FYI…those with questions may well get answers by contacting the organizations like:

    General Lakes Region History Online inquires- email lhmslpl@metrocast.net

    Laconia Public Library – (603) 524-4775

    Laconia Historical & Museum Society – (603) 527-1278

    Belknap Mill Society – (603) 524-8813

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