Center Harbor, NH

Looking north on present-day Route 25 toward Center Harbor, around 1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

591_1906c loc

The scene in 2015:

As mentioned in some of the earlier Lake Winnipesaukee posts, when the first photo was taken the primary method of transportation to and around the lake was by railroad and/or steamboat.  In 1906, automobile ownership was still fairly rare, and the roads were not particularly well-suited for them, especially here in northern New England.  This road actually doesn’t look too bad, although at this point nearly all of the road traffic would have been horse-drawn carriages.  The Colonial Hotel is visible in the distance, and most of its guests would have arrived by the S.S. Mount Washington; the steamboat landing was just out of sight on the far right of the photo.

Today, the road is now Route 25, and it is a major route around the western end of Lake Winnipesaukee.  The Colonial Hotel has been gone for nearly a century, having been completely destroyed in a 1919 fire.  The house in the foreground must have been built soon after the first photo was taken, because its architectural style was common in the early 1900s.  The house and the trees now obscure the view of Red Hill from here, so only two identifiable features are visible in both photos: the Center Harbor Congregational Church, which is visible in the distance on the left, and parts of the old stone wall, which can barely be seen in the distance between the last two vehicles.

Colonial Hotel, Center Harbor, NH (2)

Another view of the Colonial Hotel, taken around 1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

590_1906c loc

The scene in 2015:

As mentioned in the previous post, the Colonial Hotel was built as the Senter House around 1890, and in 1904 it was sold and renamed.  The hotel offered commanding views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the mountains beyond it, and was a popular destination in New Hampshire’s era of grand hotels in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  However, like many of its contemporaries, the Colonial House was destroyed by a fire on June 20, 1919.  Today, Route 25 passes through part of what was once the hotel’s property, and the only structure on the site is the bandstand, seen on the far left of the 2015 photo.

Colonial Hotel, Center Harbor, NH (1)

The Colonial Hotel in Center Harbor, around 1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

589_1906c loc

The site in 2015:

The northwestern half of Lake Winnipesaukee is divided into three long, narrow bays, each of which has a town center at the end.  The southwestern bay ends at Meredith, the northwestern one ends at Moultonborough, and the center one ends at the appropriately-named Center Harbor.  The town became a popular destination in the 19th century, and around 1830 the Senter House opened on the site of the present-day library.  According to an 1876 travel guide, the hotel had 150 rooms,  and offered such amenities as billiards, bowling, croquet, and “a flotilla of dainty row-boats.”  A night’s stay cost $4, compared to $3 per night at the nearby Moulton House, which didn’t have as much of a view of the lake and presumably lacked dainty rowboats for guests.

The old Senter House was replaced around 1890 with a new building directly across the street, as seen in the first photo.  It was sold in 1904 for over $30,000, and renamed the Colonial Hotel.  It lasted until 1919 when, like so many other grand hotels of its era, it was destroyed in a fire.  Today, the site of the hotel is now a rectangular plot of land between Main Street and Route 25, where the Center Harbor Bandstand is located.  From this angle, the lake is visible to the right of the bandstand, and the mountains to the north of the lake can be seen in the distance, giving some idea of what sort of view the hotel once offered to its guests.