Lakeport Community Association

Junction of Elm Street and Union Avenue, Lakeport Square, NH

Lakeport Freighthouse Museum Opens

The Citizen of Laconia, NH ~ 2012-11-05 / Front Page

Lakeport Freight House museum now open

The way things were’

LAKEPORT COMMUNITY Association President Armand Bolduc, Citizen Historian Warren Huse and Executive Councilor Ray Burton go over photos and other materials at the newly opened Lakeport Freighthouse Museum, which is dedicated to shining a light on the time when Laconia buzzed from being an active rail hub. 
BENJAMIN KLEIN/CITIZEN LAKEPORT COMMUNITY Association President Armand Bolduc, Citizen Historian Warren Huse and Executive Councilor Ray Burton go over photos and other materials at the newly opened Lakeport Freighthouse Museum, which is dedicated to shining a light on the time when Laconia buzzed from being an active rail hub. BENJAMIN KLEIN/CITIZEN LACONIA — After 15 years of preparation collecting artifacts, photos and stories of a time long past, the Lakeport Community Association hosted the grand opening of the Lakeport Freight House Museum Saturday in the facility at 15 Railroad Ave.

Dozens of Lakes Region residents toured the new museum, replete with photos, clothing and other artifacts of the rail era in Laconia.

Early in the program, Claire T. Clark serenaded visitors were serenaded by a quartet of women who also sang an original poem, written and set to music by Claire T. Clark, resident of the Black Brook section. Clark accompanied her poem with a guitar.

BELTING OUT THE ORIGINAL SONG, ‘The Lakeport Freight House,’ Saturday morning in the 1900 freight depot off Lakeport Square are, left to right, Jane Kneuer, Tina Hayward, Susan Dath and composer-guitarist Claire T. Clark. 
COURTESY/DOROTHY DUFFY BELTING OUT THE ORIGINAL SONG, ‘The Lakeport Freight House,’ Saturday morning in the 1900 freight depot off Lakeport Square are, left to right, Jane Kneuer, Tina Hayward, Susan Dath and composer-guitarist Claire T. Clark. COURTESY/DOROTHY DUFFY The museum has been 15 years in the making as the Lakeport Community Association has been accumulating items by raising funds from yard sales filled with donated items from individuals who wanted to help create an homage to an important piece of Laconia's history.

City Councilor and Lakeport Community Association President Armand Bolduc said, “We're showing what took place here since the 1900s when this used to be a busy rail station. It was a very busy terminal here and we're just trying to show the public.”

Joyce Messer of Weirs Beach said she loved the museum, and that while she was there the museum volunteers led the museum crowd in a rendition of “I've been working on the railroad.”

“Everyone should come and see the museum,” Messer said, “They are the nicest people in there, and they are recognizing people from long ago, it is marvelous everyone should come and see it.”

State Executive Councilor Raymond Burton also attended, saying, “The point is preserving a whole era for people to enjoy. This will also help people in the future who want to do research on that time period, so they can find out what Lakeport was like in the railroad era. I commend everyone who did this.”

Nancy Lamarche of Laconia brought her 13-year-old son Chance to the museum because Chance is a huge fan of trains.

“He was very excited to see this, Chance's father actually used to unload watermelons from boxcars when he was a kid. I know a lot of local hard work went into this and I am glad to see it open,” Lamarche said.

Bruce Reynolds of Meredith was glad to see the museum open, calling it wonderful, but added, “it's a shame they couldn't save the (passenger) station, I guess there is only so much that they could do.”

Lakeport Community Association Volunteer Dorothy Duffy said she was glad to see a focus being put back on Lakeport, saying the area, which is between Laconia downtown and Weirs Beach, “has the best food in town.”

Duffy added it was very gratifying to finally see the museum open after 15 years spent by the association raising the money needed to purchase the museum items, and fix the building, along with all the time and effort that went into making it happen.

Despite the fact that the museum looked very much completed, Bolduc said that it is only “99 percent done.”

According to Bolduc, association members will still have to raise money to equip the building with a dedicated phone line and Internet access. Bolduc also marveled at the fact that despite a few private donations, the yard sales held over the years selling donated items was the main source of funding for the museum.

Burton added that the museum was a great place for people who have memorabilia from the rail era of Lakeport and don't have a place for it but don't want to throw it away. Now, he said, they will have a place where they can donate their materials and rest-assured they will be appreciated.

There were even several people at the grand opening who brought old memorabilia to donate or for Bolduc to look at, including photos, others just old rail magazines.

Burton added that the museum would be a great place for Lakes Region schools to bring classes so that students can understand that before the Lakes Region was a tourist hotspot, it was also a very important industrial hub.

For Bolduc and the rest of the Lakeport Community Association, the opening of the museum meant that the last 15 years spent gathering money and materials for the project were not in vain, and will mean something not only to them but to future generations as well.

Anyone who wants to visit or donate to the museum may contact the association at 524- 7683 or write them at P.O. Box 6015, Lakeport, NH 03247. For more information visit

Grand Opening of Lakeport Freighthouse Museum

Lakeport Community Association



15 Railroad Avenue, Lakeport

Saturday, November 3, 10 ~ 2

All are welcome to view exhibits of railroad and Lakeport memorabilia.

Lakeport Community Association Calendars

  • They're ready! The 2013 Lakeport Community Association Calendars for 2013 are now on sale for only $6.00. 
    They're chuck full of historic photographs and memorabilia. 
    Give our super member, Ginger Tefft Ryan at call at 603-524-1593 to buy or order your calendar(s) right now! 
    Heck, you can even buy some of the other years you may have missed for half-price. Now that's a real bargain!

Wanda Tibbetts

The Citizen of Laconia,  Posted: Saturday, February 4, 2012 6:00 am | Updated: 10:37 pm, Fri Feb 3, 2012.

'First Lady of Lakeport' recalled

Wanda Tibbetts

'First Lady of Lakeport' recalled


LACONIA — Wanda Tibbetts will long be remembered as the First Lady of Lakeport, say friends and colleagues.

A founder of the Lakeport Community Association and its president at the time of her death on Thursday, Tibbetts was “a good lady and the Lakeport Association is going to have hard time without that lady,” said Bob Fortier, her close friend and fellow Lakeport-phile.

“Everything went by her. She was hard-working and president since the day we started and it’s just too bad.”

Fortier said that Tibbetts, who owned and operated a beauty salon in Lakeport for more than 40 years before a period of declining health that began in 2011 forced her to curtail her professional and civic activities, “had a heart of gold and would do anything for anybody and it’s going to be hard for the association to get along without her.”

The Lakeport Freighthouse and Museum, which the Lakeport Association hoped to have open this winter, will be Tibbetts’legacy, said Fortier, adding that her death may prove to be the impetus to getting the facility going sooner.

In addition to being a repository of Lakeport’s history, the freighthouse is where the association stores the seasonal displays it puts up every Halloween and Christmas in Torrey Park, which is located at the intersection of Elm Street and Union Avenue.

The proposed realignment of the Elm Street Bridge in 1997 was the catalyst for the formation of the Lakeport Community Association which grew from that effort to also include activities for the general betterment of Lakeport. The association annually sponsors a visit in Lakeport by Santa Claus and its members are involved with the effort to keep the Goss Reading Room open.

A member of the city’s Heritage Commission and the Laconia Museum and Historical Society, Tibbetts worked to preserve the Hathaway House. She was widely admired, respected and loved for her work on behalf of Lakeport and the City of Laconia.

“Wanda got us involved in everything,” Fortier recalled, adding that she will be missed greatly.

Ward 6 City Councilor Armand Bolduc agreed with everything that Fortier said.

“It’s going to be hard to replace her for what she did for the city and the Lakeport Association,” said Bolduc. “She had a big following and it’ll be hard to find somebody who can just step in and continue that, but I’m sure that the association will do their best to keep this going.”

Dorothy Duffy said that, while she, Fortier and other Lakeport Association members knew Tibbetts was ill, her death was nonetheless “shocking.”

Tibbetts, said Duffy, “will definitely be missed. She had a great talent for leading. She started meetings on time, she ended them on time, she had an agenda and she knew what she wanted to do even when it was a pregnant pause to make us feel guilty for not doing more.

“If you were to ask anybody who represents Lakeport most, we’d all probably say, ‘Wanda Tibbetts,’” Duffy continued.

“She was dedicated to the community and to the past. She was very kind to her clients and she was kind of unique because she had this booming voice. She was a little hard of hearing and she would bellow things out, but she had a soft heart for everybody. She was a gem and we’re just going to miss her a lot. I hope that the community remembers her and continues some of the things she believed in,” like the museum of Lakeport history, said Duffy.

© 2012 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Lakeport is hubba hubba!
by Dorothy Duffy

Citizen & Laconia Daily Sun - Monday, June 7, 2010

Lakeport is squeezed between Laconia and the Weirs. This little gem of a square on Paugus Bay is also squeezed between two lakes, Opechee and Winnipesaukee, and has the power to cinch and control both at it's waistline with the Lakeport Dam.

Even though a whole neighborhood burned to the ground in 1903 when fire raged in the Wood's Company, it still has two buildings on the National Register of Historic Buildings — the Goss Reading Room and the United Baptist Church. There are more that could fit the bill: the Moulton Opera House, G. A. R. building, Hathaway House and others.

Where it was once a hub of rail routes transporting tourists hither and yon to paradise at summer resorts and trucking goods on circuits of tracks, little of that history remains — just the Lakeport Freighthouse and sidetrack that have been under rehabilitation for years by the Lakeport Community Association.

To date, one rusty boxcar was returned, given an expensive paint job and set on a costly sidetrack recently rebuilt. A restored B & M caboose for sale waits just around the bend to join some historic collection. How wonderful would that be to link it to the Lakeport collection? Soon this little freighthouse museum housing railroad and Lakeport memorabilia will open its doors to visitors and tourists.

The lakes are the fun mode of travel for the day. While massive boats ring Paugus Bay like a necklace when they are stored under blue tarps and stacked in towering closets, they are not the most attractive gems. Yet all these marinas, as well as the inns, restaurants and views are sure to attract tourists.

Lakeport has gained in recent years and enjoys many improvements. The Elm Street bridge was realigned and rebuilt and includes a new footbridge offering a good dam view. It has the best restaurants: O Steaks & Seafood, Avery's, T-Bones/Cactus Jack's, and Fratello's. It has the Lake Opechee Inn and Conference Center, Leavitt and Sanborn Parks, one golf course, Bond Beach and an elementary school. It has two cemeteries for the diehards.

It has senior, low-income, affordable and high-income housing and is the site of many new housing developments. It attracts new residents to join neighbors - elected officials, board members, residents and volunteers who are dedicated to better their community.

Now Lakeport has a new trail - Phase One of the wonderful WOW Trail follows a scenic, railroad trail linking our lakes, communities and lives. Planners, artists, gardeners, engineers, environmentalists, fundraisers, businessmen, professionals, persons of all ages worked on it for years and truly enjoy it every day now.

Elm Street Elementary students can walk to their library, look for trolls on a footbridge, hop on a boxcar or haunt a museum, trek a lakeside trail or spit off the bridge. All those loose-toothed scholars need now is an ice-cream parlor and a movie theater.

One might consider joining their community's efforts to save some history, old homes or in planning to improve for the future through master plans or municipal commissions or offer support to their museum, park, library, historical society, heritage commission, scholarship foundation, hospital auxiliary or some conservation, environmental, fraternal, benevolent or religious group.

Or you could offer a tax-deductible donation or just say "hubba hubba" to Lakeport and "Thanks" to your own community.

Council stands pat to keep Goss Reading Room open



Tuesday, April 27, 2010


DARYL CARLSON/CITIZEN PHOTO GOSS READING Room in Lakeport will remain open for the foreseeable future after the City Council rebuffed suggestions from the Library Trustees to close the branch library despite declining use by the public.



















While all sides agree that the facility is tremendously underutilized and that its continued operation is a drain on limited resources, the Library board of trustees, the City Council and the Lakeport Community Association are nonetheless working to find a way to keep the Goss Reading Room open.

Named after Dr. Ossian Wilbur Goss of Lakeport, the reading room on Elm Street opened in 1909. Goss, in his will, provided money for the "furnishing, equipping and maintaining in the homestead house about to be erected by me in said Lakeport, suitable Reading Parlors for the use and enjoyment of the general public of Lakeport, to be forever known as "The Ossian Wilbur Goss Reading Rooms."

The reading room has seen diminishing use for several years and in 2009 the library trustees reduced its operation to two days a week. When they were recently told by City Manager Eileen Cabanel to make an additional $20,000 worth of cuts in the Laconia Public Library budget request for 2010-2011, the trustees decided to close the reading room.

That decision did not prove popular with the council, which
during a hearing Monday on the library budget was adamant that the reading room remain open, with Ward 5 Councilor Bob Hamel suggesting that the city could find a $10,000 savings elsewhere in the proposed municipal budget and directing the library trustees to match the council's effort.

Several members of the Lakeport Community Association said they would work with the trustees and the city to boost attendance at the reading room while also finding a solution to the lack of parking at the facility.

"The usage does matter," Hamel said, but so does keeping alive a portion of Lakeport's history and community character.


Restoration of Lakeport Assn. railroad boxcar gets under way

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

DARYL CARLSON/CITIZEN PHOTO MIKE PLUNKETT of Midnight Express Remodeling sands down the box car the Lakeport Community Museum which will then get a fresh coat of paint in 1950s Boston & Maine colors.

The Lakeport Community Association's most recent acquisition — a 70-year old, 50-foot long, 35 ton all-metal railroad boxcar — is getting a facelift.

Formed in 1997, the mission of the association is to "Preserve, yet improve the Lakeport Community," and toward that end its 50 members have raised almost $100,000 to create a museum of local history in the former Boston & Maine Railroad freight house on Railroad Avenue.

Part of the museum is the boxcar that the LCA purchased in 2008 from the New England Southern Railroad Co. in Concord. The Hobo Railroad hauled the boxcar to storage in Tllton-Northfield until the LCA built a sidetrack for it. Reliable Crane Service of Gilford set the boxcar in place on the sidetrack and recently the LCA decided to paint it the 1950s Boston & Maine colors, maroon and gold, using a very strong rust-resistant paint that costs $150 a gallon.

The association is seeking grants to help with the cost of painting the boxcar.

Since its founding, the LCA has hosted many community events, candidate forums and city programs.

Annually, the association does a spring cleanup, repairs and maintenance at Bond Beach, Torrey Park and in Lakeport Square. The association is a member of the city's Adopt-A-Spot program and its volunteers decorate Torrey Park and Lakeport Square for the holidays.

The group supports the Goss Reading Room, the Belknap Mill Society, Leavitt Park Community Center, Laconia Historical & Museum Society, has participated in Good Neighbor Day and commemorated the Great Lakeport Fire of 1903 as well as the reading room's 100th anniversary.

More recently, the association lobbied successfully to save the historic Hathaway House on Union Avenue from being razed to make way for a Dunkin' Donut coffee shop; the property owners came up with an alternate plan that will see the Hathaway House renovated and converted into office space.

New date set for candidate forum

Thursday, October 1, 2009

LACONIA — Candidates for mayor and City Council have been invited to participate in a candidates forum on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at Leavitt Park Clubhouse on Elm Street in Lakeport.

The forum, hosted by the Lakeport Community Association and the Leavitt Park Volunteers, had been scheduled for Oct. 13 but was delayed because it would conflict with a City Council meeting.

Only Ward 6 Councilor Armand Bolduc, who is running unopposed, is unable to attend the rescheduled event.

Ed Engler, editor of the Laconia Daily Sun, will moderate. Media is invited with Lakes Region Public Access TV expected to videotape for future showing on Ch. 25.

LCA President Wanda Tibbetts and Nancy Merrill of Leavitt Park Volunteers welcome the public to attend and will offer light refreshments.

In the News ...

Then . . . . . and now
Warren Huse, The Citizen

Saturday, January 31, 2009

In the photo at right, a commercial postcard courtesy of the late Albert Moulton, Lakeport (Webster) Square is seen around 1900.

The Mount Belknap Hotel is at right, just beyond the stylish lady pedestrian, followed by the Cushing Block and then the Osgood Block (which preceded the building, built as a First National grocery store and last occupied by Liberty Antiques), the Opera House Block and, in the distance, the Union Avenue or 'Brown' Church.

A trolley car of the Laconia Street Railway has stopped in the square and the passenger station (opened 1901) of the Boston & Maine Railroad is seen at center.

The larger of the two buildings at left, the Morgan Block, was torn down in 1965 and the site is now part of Torrey Park.

The smaller building, the Quinby Block, has been home to a variety of tenants. Utility poles at this time were required to be square, rather than round.

The trolleys ran from Laconia to Lakeport from 1898-1925 and to The Weirs from 1899-1925. (See '75 years ago'[ in 'Our yesterdays' for changes in management of the Mount Belknap Hotel in 1934.)


In the photo at left the Quinby Block, at left, remains and was occupied for some years by the Abenaki Chiropractic Center but is now residential space.

Torrey Park, just beyond it, has replaced the old Morgan Block. In the distance at center, the Freight House -- now being restored by the Lakeport Community Association -- of the Boston & Maine Railroad is seen, just across the tracks from the site of the old passenger station (which was ultimately destroyed in a controlled burn by area firefighters after efforts to preserve it had failed).

The passenger station space is now occupied by boat storage of Lakeport Landing Marina, whose showrooms are seen in front of the Irwin Marine compound.

Off-photo at near right is the Lake Village Apartments high-rise, on the site of the old Mount Belknap House and Cushing (Hopkins & Barlow, Muzzey & Hopkins hardware stores) Block.

The one-story brick First National Store Block (Liberty Antiques) has replaced the Osgood Block, and while the Odd Fellows Opera House Block is still there, only the ground floor storefronts are currently occupied. Beyond Clinton Street, part of Fratello's Ristorante Italiano in the former Lakeport National Bank Building, and residential buildings are glimpsed.

First lady of Lakeport
by Gail Ober
Citizen Article Date: Friday, December 5, 2008


DARYL CARLSON/CITIZEN WANDA TIBBETTS, who has worked at her beauty salon on Elm Street for the past 40 years, has old images of Lakeport including the famous fire in May of 1903 that leveled more than 100 homes in the area.

From the picture of the aftermath of the Great Lakeport Fire of 1903 to the new bright pink anniversary ribbons on the mirrors, Wanda's Beauty Salon not only displays Lakeport's history, its proprietor helps preserve it daily.

There is very little about Lakeport that Wanda Tibbetts doesn't know, and, for anyone with a short minute or an hour or two of spare time, she's more than willing to share it.

"I have always thought of Laconia as being the suburbs of Lakeport," Tibbetts said with a broad grin and a conspiratorial wink.

Tibbetts was born in Laconia but moved to Lakeport when her father, Carroll, purchased the house on Union Avenue in Lakeport that was to be home to Tibbetts' Furniture.

"My goodness. We thought Lakeport was the end of the world," said Tibbetts, who moved there when she was 13 and never looked back.

After going to Mansfield Beauty School in Massachusetts for one year she returned to Lakeport, opened her hair salon in Lakeport Square and spent the next 40 years as a hairdresser and community advocate celebrating her anniversary this past November.

"Forty years," she said pausing. "That's a long time."

Eleven years ago Tibbetts helped form the Lakeport Community Association (then called the Lakeport Community Action Association) when the town wanted to widen the Elm Street Bridge.

"I wanted to make sure we got the lighting," she said.

Since then, Tibbetts has worked tirelessly to help promote her "hometown."

Working through the association, she helped purchase and renovate the freight house at the old train station, plant flowers in Torrey Park through the city's Adopt-A-Spot Program — she won one of the top prizes this year — support the Goss Reading Room and help preserve, promote and protect Lakeport.

And throughout all, Tibbetts has approached it all with a wry sense of humor, quick smile and a hearty laugh.

Her current projects include the continued renovation of the freight house and storage box car and selling jigsaw puzzles with historic collages to raise money for the association and the museum they hope to build.

"We hope to have a museum of all the stuff we've been collecting all these years," she said.

"We've really become quite the scavengers," she said, adding that they are always on the lookout for things that can be either used or displayed in the museum. "We even grabbed some old tiles from the middle school."

She said the association hopes to have the museum finished by late spring when they'll "throw a huge block party."

"We've come a long way in those 11 years," Tibbetts said. "I just tell people when they're going to the Weirs from Laconia to 'just take a left.'"


New Lakeport calendar for 2009 is now available
by Warren D. Huse
Citizen Article Date: Saturday, September 20, 2008

LACONIA — With views extending from the 1890s to the 1950s, the Lakeport Community Association's 2009 calendar portrays parts of that section of the city from generally unpublished angles, along with unusual subjects and out-of-the-way locales.

Now available, the calendar — published as a fundraiser — can be obtained from Wanda's Beauty Shop, 59 Elm St., from the organization's Freight House (open by opportunity), from the Sundial Shop in Laconia, at the association's yard sales or by mail, c/o Wanda Tibbetts at Wanda's Beauty Shop.

Cover photo shows Union Avenue, looking northeast from about Bridge Street toward Lakeport Square.

In addition to photos chronicling the age of active rail operations, there is a shot of an ice boat on Paugus Bay in the late 1930s, a view of the Wescott Concrete Corporation's plant, on Sheridan Street, sometime between 1955 and 1969, a 1936 parade, a Shell service station in 1932 on the site of today's Robbins Auto Parts and Christmas decorations in a night-time Lakeport Square in 1954.

A 1940 photo depicts the 60-foot long railroad turntable "on what is now Irwin Marine's property. It was abandoned on May 25, 1935 with the closing of the rail line to Alton. This line that went on to Dover was opened on June 17, 1890 but the turntable, built at Boston Bridge Works, was not installed until 1912."

Several of the older photos include old landmarks, now long since gone, along with information about when they were razed, etc.

Page 6 — THE LACONIA DAILY SUN, Friday, November 14, 2008

Lakeport Community Association hosting Christmas Fair on Saturday

Evelyn Heinz, a member of the Lakeport Community Association, gives a final look over the association’s Christmas Fair offerings that are on display in the Lakeport Freight House, located behind the Lakeport Fire Station. The items will be on sale there on Saturday from 8 2 p.m. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the association’s community projects, including the conversion of the renovated building into a museum. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)