Laconia, New Hampshire Bikers, Beaches and Natural Beauty

Just south of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, one will find the city of Laconia, a popular resort town known in the winter for its skiing, snow tubing and ziplining and in the summer for its extensive beachfront, teeming rivers and crystal clear lakes.

A county seat of Belknap County, the population grew from around 1,800 in 1860 to about 16,000 by the 2010 census.

Early History

Laconia, the City on the Lakes, originated from a large Abenaki Indian settlement called Acquadocton Village. This village, at the point known as The Weirs, referred to the fishing weirs discovered by colonists at the outlet of the Winnipesaukee River.

These early explorers hoped to follow the rivers in the area north to Lake Champlain, as they were searching for the great Canadian rivers and lakes they had heard mentioned in Indian folklore. A local landmark, Endicott Rock, even commemorates the visit in 1652 of a surveying party commissioned by Massachusetts colonial governor John Endicott to find the boundary line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire at the headwaters of the Merrimack River. This historic site is the oldest public monument in New England. A fort would be built at Laconia in 1746 but the ongoing hostilities in the area caused by the French and Indian War prevented permanent settlement. Europeans finally settled there in 1761, after which it remained for many years a part of Meredith and Gilford called Meredith Bridge. The settlement was self-sufficient and starting in 1765, lumber, wheat, corn and grist mills were established on Mill Street, with taverns built soon thereafter on Parade Street. Manufacturing came along and about 1822, the courthouse was built, which would become county seat at the creation of Belknap County in 1840.

One of the local attractions is the Belknap Mill, built in 1832 to manufacture textiles and other products. Today the structure—the oldest unaltered brick textile mill in the country—is a museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


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